My Sister’s Keeper, a group psychotherapy programme for adolescents, has a 14-module curriculum, including legal, medical, psychological and other components.
We also have a component on the environment which in the past has been facilitated by Captain Danny Donelan aboard his Petit Martinique sloop, Savvy. Along with other facilitators from the programme, our groups have visited marine protected areas along the coast and listened to lectures about protecting our natural environments, as well as ourselves and each other.
We are now pleased to be joined by Juliana Coffey, a marine biologist from Canada who also has an archeology/anthropology degree. She is currently associated with Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) and is the lead author/researcher for the Birds of the Transboundary Grenadines project.
My Sister’s Keeper is currently financed by the Ministry of Social Development, Housing and Community Empowerment. While our focus is on the prevention and healing of child abuse, Sweet Water Foundation is also working to develop a Bystander Mobility model, in which we investigate how sisters can learn to safely protect themselves and each other from harm.
Linkages between self and the environment are clear. Sweet Water Foundation has always sought to partner with environmentalists to educate around these linkages and are very pleased to have Coffey’s offer to work with us.
Millions of children around the world suffer violations of their rights to health, food, water, and other rights because of problematic responses or inaction to environmental degradation and climate change. According to the World Health Organisation, 1.7 million children under the age of 5 died in 2012 because they lived in an unhealthy environment. Human Rights Watch has documented for over a decade how governments have failed to protect children from environmental damage. The Convention on the Rights of the Child lays out strong child rights protections relating to the environment. First, the Convention links the child’s right to the highest attainable standard of health, including the right to nutritious food and safe drinking water, to issues of environmental pollution. Second, it defines the child’s right to information on environmental health issues and defines environmental education as one of the goals of education. Also, from the realm of the psychological, “Over the past 20 years there has been a renewed interest in how the environment (or place) influences an individual’s well-being, the development and spread of disease, and in the concentration of social problems.
This important line of inquiry has the potential to create a change in how we think about preventing and treating social concerns and embraces the social work tradition of “person-in-environment” (Freisthler and Crampton, 2009).
The first cycle of My Sister’s Keeper, which is a legacy project from the original RISE programme, will begin in October 2020.
Sweet Water Foundation