WHEN a group of UK-based Trini business owners and entertainers saw reporting on recent events of violence against women and girls back home in TT, they decided they had to do something.
The group of advocates joined together to form the group Faith In Our Destiny to support the growing movement to call for action to protect the country’s women.
“Trinbagonian women are being raped, sexually assaulted, abused, and murdered at alarming rates with not enough being done to stop it! It is evident the country is facing a gender-based violence crisis,” the group said in a statement.
It added: “A nation is only as strong as its women! Raise international awareness using social and public media to rally support for the demand to end violence towards women and girls in T&T.”
On International Women’s Day (last Monday) Faith in Our Destiny launched the #WeHaveNotForgottenYou month-long social media and fundraising campaign to assist NGOs in TT that work in the area of gender-based-violence prevention.
The fundraising aspect began with a roti-cooking class hosted by DJ Martin Jay and his wife on Saturday and Sunday. Trini-born author Nikisha Watson was expected to read from her book, Counting Adventure in Trinidad and Tobago (part of her ABCulture Collection series), and host a live prize draw. Participants were also invited to donate via a GoFundMe page.
Group spokesman Shivdi Singh told Newsday in a phone interview she and the other members of Faith In Our Destiny were really saddened and alarmed by what was happening in TT.
“We live outside and we see what is happening at home and we can’t believe what is happening in our own country.”
She explained the name, which is a line from the TT national anthem, was chosen as an inspirational one that connects the members to their identity.
“Our national anthem speaks to a sense of patriotism and support for the country. As a diaspora community we have faith and believe there would be change and (gender-based violence) is not a state of affairs that should be allowed to become a norm.”
She said the group felt the campaign was the best response it could make to participate in calling for change.
The Faith in Our Destiny group consists of 12 organisations: My Trini Shop, Limin Beach Club, Woodford and Warner, Saga Boys Food, ABCulture Collection, Inside Soca Magazine, Soca Addict, Smash Productions, Bakahnal Radio, Carnival Slayers, Funatik Mas, and Ana J Jewellery. She added these organisations will be implementing the events to raise money for the campaign.
Singh explained they do not have a set fundraising goal, but “as much as we can raise.” Whatever is raised will be going towards three TT NGOs: Womantra, Conflict Women, and the Network of Rural Women Producers of TT. Singh said the main criterion for selection was that the organisation had to be involved in work to prevent violence against women and girls.
“These are recognised groups that have been working in this space for some time. They are all quite small in terms of capacity, are all NGOs and grassroots organisations. We reached out to them and said we would like to support you.”
Singh said the donation is to resource the groups with added financial means for the work they are doing.
“These groups are always lacking financial resources and any additional support goes a long way. We will support implementers on the ground. And we will show there is concern from the diaspora community and we will stand together and help raise their visibility.”
The campaign will also have an awareness component and Singh said throughout the month they will publish facts about gender-based violence in TT and provide a platform for the work of the three organisations.
“We are trying to raise awareness of the issue outside of TT by having the information circulated from a UK-based group. Hopefully, it will spread and generate more visibility and support to TT.”
The group is also encouraging people to show their support by submitting a short #WeHaveNotForgottenYou endorsement video to be shared on their social media pages. West Indies cricketer Keiron Pollard and soca star Kees Dieffenthaller are among those who have submitted videos.
The campaign will also include a children’s (12-18) competition where participants will be asked to submit videos of their understanding/appreciation of the women in their lives.
The #WeHaveNotForgottenYou campaign will end on April 3 with a live session featuring DJ Martin Jay and fellow Trinidad-born UK DJ Markee.
Singh said after the campaign the group will look at the possibility of further fundraising and awareness activities.
For more info: check out Faith in Our Destiny on Facebook, on Instagram via the handle @faithinourdestiny and on its GoFundMe page at https://gofund.me/896c51f9.