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Jan 16, 2015

YWCA Assisting At-Risk Youths

Another well established institution, the Young Women’s Christian Association, with the assistance of the US Embassy, is rolling out a two-year program aimed at building human resources capacity for at-risk youths. Two hundred young women and men from Belize City and Belmopan will be recruited to take part in the program. Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

“Creating safe spaces to increase and maintain productivity of girls and youth through personal action and capacity building.” It’s the mission of CASSA—Creating A Safe Space Agenda—an initiative of the Young Women’s Christian Association. The project will add to the many initiatives of the Y and will empower its participants with life skills to become productive men and women in the society.


Sheree Smiling-Craig

Sheree Smiling-Craig, President, YWCA Belize

“YWCAs throughout the world are synonymous with safe spaces. For the past one hundred and fifty years, YWCAs have expanded safe spaces to reach over twenty-five million young women in over a hundred and twenty countries providing access providing access to economic, social, political and cultural opportunities to fulfill their potential and actively contribute to the development of their community, country and the world. Evidence of the success of this program will be delivered through the expected two hundred participants over the next two years. Who will be equipped with life skills to make informed decisions, to progress in school, to have increased awareness of their human rights, sexual and reproductive responsibilities and have the tools to enhance their abilities to gainful employment and engage in entrepreneurial activities thereby enhancing opportunities for further educational development and income earning to become Belizean productive citizens.”


In collaboration with several agencies that work with at risk youths, CASSA is classified into four main areas: accessibility and safety, leadership and participation, dignity and respect and partnership and accountability.


Enrique Pech

Enrique Pech, Manager, YWCA CASSA Project

“As of January twelfth 2015 and over the next twenty months, two cohorts with a total of two hundred participants from specific target areas in Belize City and urban and surrounding rural areas of Belmopan will benefit from training in vocational skills, academic tutoring, mentoring, language and communication skills, self-esteem and self-ownership, life and sexual health skills, human and sexual rights, financial literacy, computer skills, leadership and negotiation and spirituality.”


The project is being funded through a grant of three hundred and twenty-five thousand, seven hundred and forty-two dollars from the Central America Regional Security Initiative program of the U.S. Embassy.


Bruce Matthews

Bruce Matthews, Deputy Chief of Missions, U.S. Embassy

“The safe place will afford you the opportunities to transform from amazing young women and girls, to amazing adults and members of society. Where you’ve been or where you come from needn’t be nor should it be a barrier of disadvantage. So to the young women and girls, your talents, your skills required to the CASSA program, they matter. You can build an amazing future and don’t forget to explore the opportunities with the embassy for higher education.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

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