Children Paint for Change in Society

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

CHILDREN in Trinidad and Tobago are championing peace and unity through art.

A mural at the Heroes Foundation headquarters in Woodbrook, Port of Spain, is the outcome of a communication and advocacy initiative by 30 local and migrant participants in the Heroes Development Programme (HDP).

The aim is to inspire positive societal change.

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The Heroes Foundation in collaboration with Pan-American Development Foundation (PADF) stated in a press release on Monday that HDP was a comprehensive three-year programme designed for secondary school pupils in Forms One to Three and migrant youths aged 11 to 17.

It is hoped that such programmes will also serve as a deterrent to a criminal lifestyle.

The release stated, “Developed with support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), this Caribbean-focused curriculum blends psychosocial development and sustainability education with child and youth-led advocacy and action.”

The mural project is part of the WebPal integration activity, supported by PADF and Protec Group, where participants learn about each other’s cultures, share experiences, understand different languages, and build a sense of community in safe spaces.

Leorbeidys, 13, played a pivotal role in conceptualising the mural.

Her favourite message, “One Planet, One People – Peace Is What We Need,” embodies her vision of a harmonious world rooted in mutual respect. 

She explained, “I believe that we can coexist peacefully, without problems and discrimination, if we respect one another. I hope this mural encourages people to make our country better, just like Heroes Foundation encourages and supports us to do better together.”

Chief Executive Officer of the Heroes Foundation Lawrence Arjoon said, “While young people often remain silent observers in our society, they possess profound insights from their unique perspectives and lived experiences. Here at Heroes, we are unwavering in our commitment to listen to their voices and empower them with the skills and knowledge necessary to pave the way for safe and sustainable lifestyles. The more we invest in their growth today, the more promising our future becomes.”

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PADF Programme Manager, Hannah Gabrielle Katwaroo also said PADF has been supporting the holistic, positive development of both local and migrant children through its partnership with the Heroes Foundation for over three years.

She said, “Through HDP and its curriculum, we have managed to create innovative, shared and safe spaces for all children to acquire key life skills, learn a new language, participate in service-driven projects and develop their understanding of social issues that impact their sense of safety, livelihood and well-being.

“Through advocacy projects such as this mural painting exercise, as a society, we are able to visibly witness these acquired skills in practice and interact with their passion as young agents of social change.”


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