Sandals Supports RISE

The Sandals Foundation is partnering with the Sweet Water Foundation to implement a programme for girls in Grenada who are victims of sexual abuse.

The RISE programme (Respect, Inspiration, Self-Esteem and Empowerment), was presented by Dr Hazel Dabreo, Director of the Sweet Water Foundation, to a cross-section of stakeholders from the public and private sectors, NGOs and the media.

The programme, which is run by the Sweet Water Foundation, Grenada Inc., and the first of its kind in the Eastern Caribbean, is designed to promote positive personal and social development through recovery from the traumatic effects of sexual molestation and the conflicts surrounding it. A formal assessment of the pilot cycle of the program was recently conducted by the Department of Applied Childhood Studies, University of Huddersfield, UK, in collaboration with the Department of Psychiatry, University of the West Indies Trinidad and Tobago. The assessment found the RISE program to be science-based, academically sound, innovative and extremely impactful.

Using a holistic approach to healing, topics will include Sexual and Reproductive Health, Managing Intra-Familial Relationships in the event of Incest or Rape, Navigating the Court System (for those who have brought charges against their perpetrators), Environmental Awareness, and HIV/AIDS Protection. The curriculum also includes purely soothing methodologies, such as Art Therapy, Yoga Therapy, and other Empowerment — based activities. The programme will also provide individual psychotherapy sessions for mothers or female guardians of the participants in group, who may themselves be grappling with issues of inter-generational abuse within their families.

The critical need for this programme, which the Sandals Foundation is funding for 2015, is underscored by the participation projection of 36 for March 2015 which is already filled with a waiting list of 79.

“With the lack of programmes that serve women at risk, there are unfortunately too many young women in our region who suffer silently after being abused,” said Heidi Clarke, director of programmes for the Sandals Foundation. “We are endorsing the RISE. programme as it is a proven multi-pronged approach, which will help young women deal with the emotional trauma of abuse as well as track and encourage them over a period of one year.

“Our investment is about providing the support needed for these young women to build back their confidence, understand that they are not responsible for what has happened to them in the past, and inspire them to lead productive lives and impact the next generation to help break the cycle of abuse we face here in the Caribbean,” she said.

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