A telethon under a Sustainable Child Friendly Initiative was launched on Monday of this week at the Cancha Marshalleck in Benque Viejo del Carmen. The telethon is part of a unique Child Friendly Initiative that is now being developed in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund UNICEF, the United Nations Development Program UNDP, the Mayor’s Association, the Government of Belize and the Ministry of Local Government, which intends to improve the lives of the children in Benque Viejo as well as the other Municipalities around the Country.
In attendance for the telethon were students from the Howard Smith Nazarene, the Mount Carmel and the Seventh Day Adventist Primary Schools.
Sitting at the head table on Monday morning were members from the Child Advisory Board, composed of representatives from the various primary and secondary high schools in Benque Viejo. This Child Advisory Board is headed by Amy Wade and is facilitated by the Technical Steering Committee. So far the Child Advisory Board in Benque has met for five times to voice their opinions on what are the needs of children from that area.
In her presentations during the launch of the telethon, Ms. Kay-DeVaugh, Project Manager of the Sustainable and Child Friendly Municipalities Initiative told the children that there were now efforts to create an awareness that children are an important part of the community and that each Municipality will be “tailoring” for their needs.
“It guarantees that you can express your opinion, to be protected from violence, exploitation, that you have green spaces in your community to play,” she said.
Mr. Heraldo Ramcharan Jr. Mayor of Benque also made an address on behalf of the Benque Viejo Town Council. He said that Benque Viejo had agreed as from September 2014 to create child friendly environments by giving children a voice. He urged for the community of Benque to help itself in aspiring to the goals of making Benque more child friendly.
Mayor Heraldo Ramcharan Jr. was joined by Ms. Sigourny Usher, Senorita Flor de la Feria 2015, who said that the vision now was to create child friendly areas and for children not be involved in activities that “…would have a negative bearing on life…”
According to Ms. Sigourney Usher, a child friendly environment must include those who are physically challenged. Benque’s Queen will now be doing tours in Benque promoting, the “I pledge” pins, which are now available from telethon organizers.
It is now the intention of the telethon organizers, to place receptacles in some 70 businesses in Benque and it is hoped that through that effort some $15,000.00 can be raised within the next 14 days. These piggy banks will be at the business houses in Benque for the next 100 days. However; by 11:00 am on Monday, the Hon. Erwin Contreras, Representative for the Cayo West Division had already pledged $500.00 along with Mr. Heraldo Ramcharan Jr., the Mayor of Benque Viejo, who pledged $300.00 to the entire effort in making Benque a child friendly place.