DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Campaign to prevent child abuse launches
Boys and Girls Don Bosco Network launches ‘Protect Childhood’ campaign to raise awareness about child abuse
(MissionNewswire) The Boys and Girls Don Bosco Network, located in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, recently launched the “Protect Childhood” campaign. The organization has spent the last 35 years working to protect vulnerable children. Statistics in the country show that 62 percent of children between 1-14 years old suffer some form of abuse and maltreatment. Over its history, the Boys and Girls Don Bosco Network has supported more than 60,000 youth, impacting more than 25,000 families directly and benefiting more than 150,000 people indirectly.
The Boys and Girls Don Bosco Network ensures the promotion of children’s rights, and with this new campaign, it aims to raise awareness, educate, and inform the population how to prevent abuse and mistreatment. As part of the campaign, workshops, forums and other activities were held to spread the message that everyone is responsible and must play a part in keeping children safe.
Representatives from UNICEF participated in first forum entitled “The current reality of childhood in the Antillean country: challenges and tasks to guarantee the rights of children and adolescents.” Another forum was held with the support of the National Council for Adolescence and Childhood of the Dominican Republic on the theme “Public policies in favor of children: tasks and challenges for their implementation. A third forum entitled “Good practices” was a collaborative effort of various institutions that are part of the Coalition for Children.
Workshops, led by industry experts, addressed issues such as “Child labor as a form of child abuse,” “Good treatment” and “Prevention of child abuse in care centers for vulnerable children, adolescents and young people.”
“Salesian missionaries in the Dominican Republic provide more than traditional education and aim to provide for the whole person so youth can develop in a productive and healthy environment,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “This campaign, among other initiatives, ensures youth have their basic needs met and have an opportunity to learn skills that enhance their life, bring them joy, and encourage their passion for learning.”
Nearly half of youth under the age of 18 live in poverty in the Dominican Republic, according to UNICEF. Although the country’s economy has been steadily improving, the country’s poor still struggle to get enough food to eat and to access safe drinking water and adequate housing. Only 30 percent of youth finish primary school and only 18 percent finish secondary school on time. Schools are in poor shape with nearly half having no access to safe drinking water and more than 60 percent lacking adequate bathroom facilities.
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UNICEF – Dominican Republic