Ariel Matthews (NYLO Intern)
“You came. You learned. You conquered.”
This was the inspirational statement said by the Honourable Ayanna Webster- Roy, Minister of State at the Office of the Prime Minister (Gender and Child Affairs) at the graduation ceremony for the Caregivers Training Programme at the ministry’s conference room in Tower D of the International Waterfront Centre on Friday.
This course was a collaboration with the ministry and the Registered Nurses’ Association and ran for three months beginning on 10 April. The 31 all- female graduates did most of their training at the Nursing Annex in Port of Spain. Prior to being accepted, they had to pass psychometric tests to affirm their sustainability for the task. They also completed modules which dealt with understanding self, learning disabilities, psychology theories and caring for kids with communicable diseases among others.
Minister Webster- Roy highlighted the importance of initiatives like these. “This is part of the strengthening of the Child Protection system of this country. This was needed for the growth and development for care giving of children in state homes. Quality health care benefits the growth of children physically, socially and intellectually.” Drawing attention to the absence of men, the Minister said: “Concerted effort is being made in the next phase to target our males. Boys need role models.”
Manager of St. Dominic’s Home, Sister Arlene Greenidge, is appreciative of this course. She said, “We are now operating in a different model of child care and protection that is more outcome oriented. Therefore, people must be trained. Although we have highly experienced staff at the community residences, we recognize the need for trained staff.”
Graduate and mother of three, Renee Joy Blackman, who was the owner of a daycare before said, “Learning how to identify minor medical problems and how to deal with it” was an eye-opener to her. Shelly Ann Harrypersad, also a mother of three, also appreciated the knowledge learned. “Learning how to help children and identify the real developmental needs of children who people may label as troublesome was most important to me.”