CEO of the Digicel Foundation Charmaine Daniels is urging Jamaican parents to get even more involved in the lives of their children.
“I firmly believe that children are the future of our nation. This year’s theme for Child Month, ‘Children need our love and protectionâ€¦Get involved,’ resonates deeply with us at the foundation.
“We have always been committed to supporting initiatives that promote the well-being of children in Jamaica, and this year, we are more determined than ever to inspire others to do the same,” said Daniels in a letter to the Jamaica Observer.
“As the first point of contact for children, adults play a crucial role in creating a safe and nurturing environment for our young ones. We must provide the necessary support for our children’s mental, emotional, and social well-being.
“At the Digicel Foundation we have remained focused on our most vulnerable children, partnering with the Ministry of Education and Youth and the Early Childhood Commission to strengthen the infrastructure needed for enhanced learning for our younger students, especially in rural areas; and through support for children with special needs,” added Daniels.
She pointed to figures provided by Latoya Minott-Hall, public education and special projects manager at the Office of the Children’s Advocate, in February, which showed that more than 2,300 children and teens have accessed ‘SafeSpot’, a 24-hour helpline for children supported by the Digicel Foundation.
“This data highlights the need for us to be more active and present in the lives of our children, particularly during these challenging times,” declared Daniels.
The Digicel Foundation head underscored that children have the right to be heard.
“As I recently discussed…there is a difference between active listening and passive listening. We must actively listen to our children, to truly hear what they say. When we listen to our children, we understand them better.
“At the Digicel Foundation, we have always recognised the importance of children’s voices being heard. We have supported numerous initiatives that empower children and provide them with opportunities to express themselves, including facilitating workshops for parents, caregivers and children with disabilities,” added Daniels.
She charged that parents can get involved in the lives of their children’s in many ways, including attending parent-teacher association meetings, assisting them with their homework, or just reading to them.
“One of the simplest yet most effective ways to get involved is by reading with our children. Reading not only helps build a bond between us and our children, but it also makes reading a habit that will benefit them in the future. On Read Across Jamaica Day, the Digicel team went out to schools and connected with the students through some of their favourite books!
“Creating a safe environment for our children is essential. Children are valuable in building a better Jamaica, a place of choice to live, work, raise families, and do business. We have a high duty of care to love and protect them. When our children feel protected and safe, they feel that we truly love them,” said Daniels.