Networking Conference held in Cayo Print E-mail
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Thursday, 06 December 2012 00:00

Ms. Ana Shaw, Chairperson and founder of the Child Development FoundationA Conference named, ‘Connecting Cayo Communities,’ was held on November 30th, 2012 at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel. The event was hosted by Mary Open Doors, a Non-Government Organization, dedicated to assisting domestic violence victims.

Mary Open Doors has been working to assist women and children who suffer from domestic abuse since its founding in 2008. Last year, after being the recipient of a grant from Full Basket Belize, the organization started an outreach to villages in the Cayo District. The goal was to connect to thirty two villages, to sensitize them about the nature of domestic violence, legal rights as well as share basic data on the transmission and prevention of HIV/AIDS.

Now at the midpoint of their outreach project, Mary Open Doors met on Friday last with those who have contributed to make the project a success as well as meet with new community members to inform on what to expect in the program. Principal among those associates was Diana Shaw, the Chairperson and founder of the Child Development Foundation, an organization which focuses on children who are victims of sexual violence. Shaw, who is an Attorney-at-Law by profession told The Guardian that she was in attendance at the Conference to speak about the legal implication sof domestic violence as well as what the law says about the subject. Shaw also wanted to remind attendees about the other support services that are available through Mary Open Doors, and other organizations that provide support to women who are victims of domestic violence.

Speaking about the nature of violence in the home, Shaw called on the entire community to get involved in eradicating this threat, to the foundation of society.

“…When domestic violence happens in a home, it affects the children, it affects the work that women do, in terms of the productivity that the community will get from her.”

Shaw continued, “It affects crimes that may be happening in that community as well, because we also see the children ,who are affected by domestic violence very often themselves become victims of other forms of violence.”

Shaw also considers that violencea breaks down the family support and supervision that children would have had in an ideal situation. This can lead children to become vulnerable to other forms of child abuse and other forms of violence; including sexual violence, she says.

Also present for the Mary Open Doors Conference was Orlando Jimenez, Rural Communities Development Officer. Jimenez spoke about the importance of forming networks in the community.

“Networking then is crucial for us since, alone we do not have all the resources; all the knowledge to do everything…” said Jimenez, who is attached to the Ministry of  Local Government and Rural Development.