BASSETERRE, St. Kitts (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – A call is being made for members of the public to be informed on the various projects and programmes currently available to assist teenage and single mothers in St. Kitts and Nevis including Project Viola and the UNESCO-funded Single Mother's Advancement Resilience and Training (SMART) Project.
This call was made by Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Senator the Honourable Akilah Byron-Nisbett, during an appearance on Sugar City FM's "The People's Voice" radio programme with Ambassador Michael Powell on Monday, March 13, 2017.
"I know most of the times we look at situations with teen mothers and say 'well how she could get herself in a situation like this' but the reality is that many of these young girls, all they need is some mentoring. They need someone who will be there with them and for them and I would like to ask the general public to go to the ministry of gender affairs and find out more about Project Viola because I know that there is much more help needed and so I would like to make a plea for persons to go out and find out more about Project Viola—how you could be involved; how you could be mentors because it's not the end for them when they become pregnant," the honourable senator said.
Project Viola is designed to centralize support for teen mothers and assist with their personal and professional development.
And while it was officially launched in 2002, Senator Byron-Nisbett contends that "It was not until under this administration – the Team Unity Administration – that it has come to the fore as it has."
The senator further explained how the recently launched SMART Project – which seeks to improve the standard of living of single mothers and their families by promoting healthy lifestyles and empowerment – complements the objectives of Project Viola.
She added, "A lot of these single mothers now were once teen mothers and so for them to be able to get the assistance even outside of being a teen mother it would go a long way in helping our society in general and of course being able to ensure that women who work so hard for their families are able to get that training that they need in order to be able to ensure that the parenting skills required are where they need to be and I really appreciate that this government continues to push those agendas because, yes, they might have been there but there was little said about it and there was little really done and now we are seeing it done more."
The SMART Project is expected to run over the course of nine (9) months and will include parenting enhancement skills workshops; training and development workshops; basic computer and IT skills training and a Summer Volunteerism Project.