Black Immigrant Daily News
British High Commissioner Harriett Cross, right, chats with Woman of Substance founder Onika Mars, left, and an official at Signal Hill Secondary on Monday. Photo courtesy Harriett Cross Twitter –
Thirty students from Signal Hill Secondary School benefited on Tuesday from Women of Substance’s Pass It On youth leadership workshop. The initiative is funded by the British High Commission.
These workshops, according to Woman of Substance founder and president Onika Mars, are geared towards educating groups of 30, from different schools throughout Trinidad and Tobago, on gender-based violence with the aim of promoting healthy relationships and bringing awareness.
“The youth leadership Pass It On programme is basically a programme where we educate the students at the secondary schools about gender-based violence; how do we prevent it, youth advocacy, gender socialisation and also self-awareness.”
She said coming out of the programme, the students have a responsibility to pass on the information they receive to another 30 students.
“We are on our fourth session. The programme is really sponsored by the British High Commission, and the students have been really, really interactive thus far, very much interested in the continuation of the programme. As a matter of fact, a lot of the students keep asking if after they present in March, if this is the end.”
She added: “What we want to do is continue so that we create advocacy groups in the schools, so that they can be the ones to raise the awareness about gender-based violence.”
She said the other schools visited thus far were Pentecostal Light and Life High, Scarborough Secondary School and the MILAT in Trinidad.
“We would be checking in with the principals so that at least we can do our monitoring. One of the things we want to ensure is that we create impact – we don’t want to just do programmes for just doing programmes sake. We want to continue the awareness so we would be checking in so that we would have an idea if the knowledge that we would have shared is really creating a difference.”
Assistant Secretary in the THA Division of Community Development, Youth Development and Sport Wane Clarke said Women of Substance should be commended for their work across the island and throughout the country.
“When I was growing up, it didn’t have any Women of Substance. Women of Substance is not only for women, basically the gender-based violence and all the other violence, the history would show that men are a little more dominant in violence – men are more likely to commit those acts of violence against women and that is why it is so important for you to participate.”
He added: “Violence to anybody is wrong and that is why it shouldn’t even be an option. People often turn to violence when they lose their ability to reason and understand, sometimes when you can’t get your way.”
British High Commissioner to TT Harriet Cross was also present.