100 Women Who Care do­nate to Raise your Voice!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

By Faye-Chantelle Mon­de­sir

Char­i­ties have long been in ex­is­tence in Saint Lu­cia. How­ever, an in­no­va­tive type of phi­lan­thropy from women here has been sig­nif­i­cantly con­tribut­ing to­ward change on the is­land. Va­lerie Jenk­in­son, the chair­per­son and founder of the or­ga­ni­za­tion ‘100 Women Who Care Saint Lu­cia,’ do­nated a $10,400 cheque to Raise Your Voice St. Lu­cia on Wed­nes­day, Fe­bru­ary 17 at the Bay Gar­dens Beach Re­sort.

Cather­ine Sealy of Raise Your Voice St. Lu­cia was the re­cip­i­ent of the cheque pre­sented by the 100 Women group. She told the STAR: “Raise Your Voice St. Lu­cia was founded in 2014 by a group of eight women, my­self in­cluded. We de­cided we needed to ad­vo­cate on be­half of vic­tim­ized women and chil­dren, es­pe­cially those af­fected by do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, rape, child abuse and lack of ac­cess to swift jus­tice.”

Sealy said her group is also in­volved with the eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment of women. “We have spo­ken to em­ploy­ers, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of big com­pa­nies, and they are con­sid­er­ing a re­la­tion­ship with us to ben­e­fit sur­vivors of abuse.” Raise Your Voice is cur­rently work­ing as­sid­u­ously on sen­si­tis­ing peo­ple to the con­se­quences of all types of vi­o­lence and abuse on women and chil­dren and the need for prompt and ef­fi­cient jus­tice.

Mem­ber­ship of Raise Your Voice is open to all, re­gard­less of gen­der. For sev­eral weeks now the group has been trav­el­ling around the is­land, host­ing town hall meet­ings and rais­ing pub­lic aware­ness. So far, the or­ga­ni­za­tion has hosted meet­ings in Mi­coud, La­borie, Den­nery, Vieux Fort, Choiseul, Soufriere, Anse La Raye and Ca­naries.

Sealy is con­cerned that sev­eral pieces of leg­is­la­tion cre­ate in­equal­ity. She cited chil­dren born out of wed­lock, un­mar­ried women and peo­ple in com­mon-law re­la­tion­ships.

The money do­nated by the 100 Women Who Care will go to­ward the pro­duc­tion of air­ing 30 se­cond PSAs to raise pub­lic aware­ness of rape, child abuse and do­mes­tic vi­o­lence within our so­ci­ety and of­fer in­for­ma­tion on sup­port ser­vices.

Va­lerie Jenk­in­son, Chair of 100 Women Who Care Saint Lu­cia, de­scribes the or­ga­ni­za­tion as “a group of ded­i­cated women who care deeply about Saint Lu­cia.” The group meets ev­ery quar­ter for a one hour meet­ing where each mem­ber do­nates EC$100 which is do­nated to a char­ity that the group selects through bal­lot. Mem­bers nom­i­nate a char­ity of their choice and the list is nar­rowed down to three. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of th­ese char­i­ties are in­vited to make a five minute pre­sen­ta­tion as to why they should re­ceive the do­na­tion. Mem­bers then vote and “all” of the money col­lected for the quar­ter goes to the char­ity with most votes..

In the past year the or­ga­ni­za­tion, which now stands at just over 100 women, has do­nated over EC$28,000 to lo­cal char­i­ties.

Pa­troness of “100 Women Who Care” Sen­a­tor Berthia Parle says when she was ap­proached by the or­ga­ni­za­tion she was im­me­di­ately struck by the sim­plic­ity yet ef­fi­cacy of the idea. “I know of so many busy women like my­self who want to give back to the com­mu­nity and those in need but who have so lit­tle time and not enough knowl­edge of the lo­cal char­i­ties. The suc­cess in our first year has been amaz­ing and it is a tes­ta­ment to how this ven­ture has struck a chord with women in our com­mu­nity,” Sen­a­tor Parle said.

For in­for­ma­tion on how to join, visit the web­site: www. 100wom­en­who­carestlu­cia. com.

(L:R) Va­lerie Jenk­ins, Chair­per­son of 100 Women Who Care, Cather­ine Sealy

and Phoebe Fraites of Raise Your Voice, and Sen­a­tor Berthia Parle.

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