HEAR THE CHILDREN’S CRY
Hear the Children’s Cry is a children’s voluntary organization in Jamaica
organization providing urgently needed services for children and young people. Established in 2002, it combines vigorous, high profile advocacy with practical programmes for children, families and youth. It established its multi-faceted Missing Children’s Support Programme in April 2009, with support from Jamaica Yellow Pages.
The Missing Children’s Support Programme is Jamaica’s only entity, public or private, providing counseling for the families of missing children, as well as for returned missing children. It works with the security forces to access statistics on missing children, analyzing and publishing these. It also carries out islandwide programmes of Safety Education in Schools and Parenting Education, and networks with other stakeholders serving the welfare of Jamaican children.
Hear The Children’s Cry publishes photos (where available) and details about missing children on a daily basis, and keeps the public informed with regular press releases and media interviews, as well as calling press conferences on national issues when necessary. It also publicizes important trends in its quarterly “CHILD WATCH” bulletin, and provides in-depth analyses, a focus on related issues and puts a human face on the statistics about missing children, in its e-newsletter “The Children’s Voice”.
In addition to having gained national and international respect as “The Voice of Jamaica’s Children” for the above mentioned ongoing projects, Hear the Children’s Cry has been acclaimed for a number of important major initiatives. These have included:
- Hosting a National Mini Summit on Sexual Violence Against Children in 2006
- Spearheading the Ananda Alert Rapid Response to reports of Missing Children in 2009
- Hosting a 2 week Sensitization Programme for Professionals Across Jamaica Working with Children/Missing Children in 2011
- Inaugurating the National Missing Children’s Awareness Week (May 4-9) in 2015
- Also in 2015, hosting a National Missing Children’s Stakeholders’ Consultation and a working visit from Ms. Katia Dantas, Policy Director for Latin America and the Caribbean with the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC).
- To serve as the voice of Jamaica’s children in the advocacy required to keep the concerns and interests of children at the forefront of Jamaican life.
- To engage in public education activities that promote and involve children and their parents/guardians.
- To facilitate and encourage children to speak for themselves on issues they deem important, and for their rights to be enforced and respected.
Our fervent vision is of a Jamaica in which all children are protected from physical, sexual, mental and spiritual abuse, by the promoting, preserving and defending of their well being and wholesome family life, through Christ centered principles.
COMPLEX OF CRISES AFFECTING JAMAICAN CHILDREN
Hear The Children’s Cry is Jamaica’s most vocal advocacy and support group, and is committed to the wellbeing and welfare of Jamaica’s children. The organization was launched in 2002, in direct response to a heartbreaking and alarming complex of crises which continue to face Jamaican children. Thousands of Jamaican youngsters continue to be the victims of violent crimes, to be traumatized by witnessing murder and other violent acts in their homes and communities. They continue to be abused in many homes, and to suffer from neglect, abandonment, homelessness and exploitation by criminals, from abuse by uncaring and/or uninformed care givers, and from injustices resulting from inadequate and often inept essential national services.
The particular atrocity which precipitated the establishment of Hear The Children’s Cry by Founder child advocate Betty Ann Blaine and her associates was the shooting up of a children’s birthday party in the violence prone community of Kingston’s Greenwich Town. The innocent victims of hostilities between rival gangs, the young children were sprayed with bullets at what should have been a joyful occasion. One child was killed and a number were wounded, one very seriously.
Since then, Jamaican children have continued to face an alarming level of atrocities, and concerned citizens continue to be shocked at the vicious crimes so many of them are subjected to. According to the Planning Institute of Jamaica, young people are prime murder targets, with more than 1,500 children and teenagers killed during the 10 year period 2001-2011, and another 1,600 shot and wounded.