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Dec 19, 2019

Special Needs Children Are Still Marginalized

Three years later special needs children are still marginalized by the Government of Saint Lucia, special needs children's allowance was cut from $110 to $78 putting additional pressure on poor families to provide for their special needs children. Disposible diapers and wipes are extremely expensive on island as it attracts high importation fees, while the government has cut funding it has implemented no politics to provide relief. 

While our funding goals fell short this year we still continued to support eleven (11) special needs children our of a total of forty two families who contacted us for support, providing disposible diapers, wipes, chucks and non perishable foods.

We are working to get core funding so we may better support special needs children by including them in our work program and making them a more visible part of our mission and goals. 

We continue to hope that locals will step up and contribute to supporting special needs children from poor marginalized families in 2020.

Sep 30, 2019

THE BENEFITS OF HAVING A STRONG, SECURE SHELTER

While not every victim of domestic violence is female, women constitute the majority, we have not yet encountered a single man since we started working with victims of domestic violence in February 2012. We work closely with  many survivors of domestic and women in particular, stay in dangerous relationships for many reasons. Many times, a chief reason is the lack of an accessible and welcoming women support shelter, woman in an abusive relationship may not feel she has anywhere else to go. Extended family may not be near or welcoming. An inability to be self-supporting can leave many feeling they are “stuck” in their situation.

A crisis shelter gives women in imminent danger someplace safe and secure to escape from harm. Friends and family may be non-existent or too accessible to the abusing partner. A crisis shelter offers a roof, meals and a location where the abuser cannot reach them.

In most cases, the crisis shelter offers much more – like a consistent, safe place to recoup from the strain of real and pending danger – not just for themselves, but for their children also. It also offers them an environment to encourage their potential, rather than crush their self-image. The shelter offers space to breathe and re-imagine life alongside those who have reached this hope for themselves. Hope for a better future can be born, and this includes hope for new opportunities for children who have witnessed domestic abuse or experienced homelessness.

Many times, it takes more than 60 or 90 days to start rebuilding a life, so we also working to offer longer-term housing  so women can access other services which empower her to work toward enhanced career opportunities, including education and resources toward her own permanent residence.

Because our team works on a daily basis with those who face abuse, we have an authoritative voice when it comes to public policy. Victims may lack confidence in themselves or ‘the system’ but we can speak confidently and assuredly on their behalf. In this way, crisis we benefit not only those in immediate danger, but can help to protect others in the community before they are victimized. For all these reasons, and more, we hope you can see why it’s so important to support a safe space for women and children who are victims of domestic abuse. 

Sep 20, 2019

CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS ARE MARGINALIZED

Children with special needs and disabilities are being marginalised by mainstream schools in Saint Lucia as the system does not incentivise educators to be inclusive, if a parent wants their child to be in public school she needs to have the resources to hire a full time baby sitter to remain with the child at all times during school hours.   

The government is misjudging the financial impact of allowing class teachers to determine if a special needs child will be allowed in the class room or a head teacher to allow a special needs child into the school. With rising numbers of pupils with special needs unable to be accommodated in mainstream schools and very little being taught in the two special needs centers on island, special needs children who are gifted are being marginalized for being different by the entire system.

“Poor parents  are expected to cover the cost of school baby sitters and the financial pressures can make them reluctant to admit or keep pupils in school" one parent told us. “Another barrier is that the perception by teachers and principals are that schools with high numbers of children with special needs may also appear to perform less well against performance metrics.”

“While the Government via the Ministry of Education and Social Justice will say we have improved special educational needs support to put families at the heart of the system and give them better choices in their children’s education, whether in mainstream or special school,” speaking with parents of special needs children this appears to be a non existent policy.

We therefore advocate strongly that parents  with special needs children be given the same opportunities to choose a school of their choice for their children's education and that the government provide the necessary resources so special needs children can be educated in mainstream education. 

“We hear awful stories every day of autistic children who are being held back from getting the education they deserve because schools don’t understand or can’t meet their needs or parents cannot afford special needs assessments. This can be devastating for them and their families, and mean they lose all faith in the system. 

We continue to ask for your donation to support children by providing special needs assessments to give special needs children of poor marginalized parents a chance to get an education. 

 
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