Let Our Children Grow

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‘As our lives continue to be disrupted by many unforeseen circumstances, we seem to be going around in circles in our approach in dealing with the problem’

Rev Joy Abdul-Mohan

By Joy Abdul-Mohan

INTERNATIONAL Children’s Day being observed today was first established in 1954 as Universal Children’s Day.

This international observance is celebrated each year to promote international awareness among the most vulnerable – children, ‘the gems of our nation’ – and to improve children’s welfare.

Significantly, since 1990, International Children’s Day also marks the anniversary of the date that the  United Nations General Assembly adopted both the Declaration (1959) and the Convention (1989)  on children’s rights.


Sadly, we continue to witness a disgusting trend of sexual abuse and heinous acts of violence perpetrated against innocent children in our society. It is a trend that pains all of us and one that needs to be reversed urgently.

As our lives continue to be disrupted by many unforeseen circumstances, we seem to be going around in circles in our approach in dealing with the problem. Truth be told that policies and mechanisms to offer justice and a safer environment for children have been implemented.

There is a Child Protection Unit in the  Trinidad and Tobago Police Service and a functioning Children’s Authority in the Public Service. And there are at least a dozen civil society watchdog groups apart from the religious organisations focusing on the problem.


Where are we failing?

The statistics show that there is a breach in the armoury. 

In March of this year, it was reported by the Children’s Authority that since it became operational on May 18, 2015, there have been 35,000 cases of abuse reported. 

In addition, on an average for every year the Children’s Authority has received 4,000 to 5,000 reports of cases of abuse in T&T. 


A child’s entire future can be destroyed because of one loathsome incident which has the effect of  seriously damaging or even ruining a young life and taking away the innocence of a child.

Protecting children and giving them every opportunity to grow and reach their full potential without the burden or emotional and physical trauma and abuse, ought to be the concern of every citizen, especially  the Church, religious bodies and NGOs.

It is evident that our children, the ‘gems of our nation’ are under attack. We cannot take the issue of child abuse lightly simply because they will be tomorrow’s adults and leaders. We must do all we can at every level of the society to protect our children. We must not only raise awareness but provide training and build communities around the empowerment of children as part of prevention. 

The earthly parents of Jesus protected him as a child when his life and the lives of children were threatened by King Herod. We are called to dismantle the ‘palaces of tyranny’ and bring the ‘Herods’ of the 21st century to justice.

Therefore, we are called to play an integral role in making International Children’s Day relevant for our society, community and nation.

This Day offers us the opportunity, to promote and celebrate children’s rights, to reimage and build a better future for our children, to deepen our care for the most vulnerable, to do what is just and necessary for the fulfilment and preservation of the life of all children. We are called to go beyond the pew and pulpit to change the heart of an unscrupulous society that has stolen the innocence and bright future of the ‘gems of our nation and world’.

Today, let us also remember in prayer the Israeli and Palestinian families who have lost their children in the ongoing war in the Middle East and pray for peace.

Presbyterian Minister Rev Joy Abdul-MohanMessage is also vice president of Rapidfire Kidz Foundation (RKF)


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