A Response to the Marginalization of At-Risk Bajan Youth


Via Nation News

Hours after police asked for assistance in locating 14-year-old Rashona Smith, a similar plea has been made in connection with Shanique Ann Marie Best, 14; Tia Shaniqua Butcher, 15; Nickalanda Aliah McDonald, 14 and Rachel Rebekah Ward, 14. They all left home yesterday. – via NationNews February 20, 2016

UPDATE: February 21, 2016

FIVE GRANTLEY ADAMS Memorial Secondary School students who were reported missing on Saturday have been located.

Police say investigations will continue into the disappearance of Rashona Smith, Shanique Best, Tia Butcher, Nickalanda McDonald and Rachel Ward.

If these matters aren’t taken seriously by families, child services organizations, youth programs, school systems, the government and the society at large it will lead to future social problems involving child safety and welfare.

Those who are predators are studying how adults are responding to matters involving missing and exploited children. Predators will take note of at-risk, isolated and unprotected children who are  distrusted, blamed and shamed by their community members!

Predators will begin targeting these children if you all don’t show them you care! It’s not a waste of time nor resources, it’s not a case of bad seeds, it’s a cry for help one way or the other!

The children are in trouble and you all are bickering and watching from the sidelines as usual! No wonder children among you run away! They don’t feel loved or safe at home among such callous, neglectful, emotionally abusive adults! They are being marginalized and stigmatized by discriminating and prejudice adults who see the youth as trouble makers and societal nuisances.

Whatever reason children go missing is reason enough to focus on outreach services for them. Their safety must be ensured even if they are a danger to themselves. All issues involving children’s welfare is a matter for SOCIAL SERVICES and must be assessed and addressed!

The Bajan RESPONSE to social problems is embarassing and disappointing!!! The lack of knowledge involving social issues, definitions, legalities and community activism is astounding! The children are sitting prey.


Marginalization: There is no agreed definition of “marginalization”, and what that entails in education. The EFA Global Monitoring Report 2010:

Reaching the marginalized, however, defines marginalization as “a form of acute and persistent disadvantage rooted in underlying social inequalities”. Some examples of the most disadvantaged sections of society are girls and women, hard-to-reach groups such as indigenous people and ethnic minorities, poor households, people living in informal settlements, individuals with disabilities, rural populations, nomadic populations those affected by armed conflict and HIV and AIDS, and street and working children.

Many young people in developing countries have weakened or severed family ties, are subject to social stigmatization, and are not connected to institutions such as schools, youth clubs, or the formal workplace. These youth—whom we refer to as “socially marginalized”—are vulnerable to sexual exploitation and are at disproportionately high risk of unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDS. They often lack access to reproductive health information, counseling, legal protection, and health and other services, so reaching them requires special planning, advocacy efforts, and supplemental resources.

What can be done to address the needs of socially marginalized youth?

 Providing services

Because their preoccupation with daily survival can outweigh concern about possibly dying of AIDS in the distant future, reproductive health interventions for these youth must take into account the full range of issues they face. Many of them live in situations characterized by violence and distrust, so programs need to establish an environment of respect, acceptance, and stability.

Mechanisms to reach these youth

  1. To make initial contact, outreach programs find youth in places where they spend most of their time. In Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, Casa Alianza outreach teams provide street youth with emergency medical care, HIV education, informal education, and counseling. In Benin, women who work with the NGO Enfants en Situation Difficile search markets for girls who have been sold into domestic service. When they find them, they teach basic skills and try to make sure that employers are treating them adequately.
  2. Telephone hotlines are another strategy employed because they offer information to youth and preserve anonymity. In Manila, Philippines, local organizations have established a hotline to allow domestic workers to report cases of abuse.
  3. In more structured and intensive settings, drop-in centers and shelters provide a place to rest and protection from violence and abuse, as well as food, clothing, medical care, and recreational activity. These facilities can also provide a sense of stability and community that youth might lack.
  4. Transition homes and group homes prepare youth for independent living or help reunite them with their families.

Programs should work with those members of the community who have already earned young people’s trust, such as market or street vendors, shopkeepers, or health care providers. By understanding where young people go when they need help, programs can strengthen and build on support networks that already exist.


 Influencing young people’s development requires that they receive consistent support through as many channels as possible.

Services programs provide

Through the mechanisms mentioned, programs offer youth a wide range of services.

  • Individual or group counseling helps youth build self-esteem and achieve more control over their lives. Some counseling programs are designed specifically for abused or drug-dependent youth.
  • Some programs use creative ways of helping youth express themselves. A Childhope Asia program in Manila uses art therapy to enable youth to examine their lives and their hopes for the future. The Brincar Curando initiative of the Mozambique Red Cross has used games, songs, and storytelling to help youth traumatized during the country’s civil war.
  • Programs throughout the world have used Street Kids International’s “Karate Kids” and “Goldtooth” animated videos to facilitate communication with street youth.
  • To help these youth develop viable alternatives to the low-skill occupations they are engaged in, many programs offer formal and informal education, providing training in literacy, numeracy and life skills, as well as job training and apprenticeships.
  • Ideally, youth learn marketable skills that increase their likelihood of gaining employment.
  • Casa Alianza in Latin America provides child day-care services so young mothers can participate in these activities.
  • Street Kids International (SKI) helps street youth start and run small businesses by offering access to micro-credit and help with budgets, market analysis and business plans; to date youth have established bicycle courier services in India and the Sudan, a shoe shine collective in the Dominican Republic, a wholesale candy business in Peru, and a pizzeria in Tanzania.
  • Finally, programs can offer health education and services to these youth. Many programs offer STI/HIV/AIDS education, and some are affiliated with nearby clinics so that youth have access to health services. Mamobi Refuge, a group home for street girls run by a Ghanaian non-governmental organization, Urban Aid, is located next to a maternal and reproductive health clinic. The clinic provides pregnant girls from the Refuge with free family planning and HIV/AIDS counseling, health care before and after birth, and immunizations and checkups for their babies.

Advocacy and awareness-raising activities

Many programs complement their services with education and communication activities to help youth understand and assert their rights and with advocacy activities to raise awareness and mobilize society to protect these rights. At the national and international level, these groups promote and enforce legislation that fosters young people’s well-being and development, such as laws against exploitative labor and the trafficking of youth and the International Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Other activities include:

Providing legal services to youth. 

Established in 1990 in response to the brutal murder of a 13-year old street youth by four uniformed police officers, Casa Alianza’s legal aid office in Guatemala has managed hundreds of criminal law suits on behalf of street youth and assisted them with civil law matters such as the acquisition of birth certificates and identity cards needed to matriculate in school or benefit from other social services.

Helping youth understand and protect their rights. 

Organizations like Reach Up in the Philippines and the Bosco Project of Bangalore, India, help youth working in garbage heaps band together and collectively defend their interests.

Warning youth, their families and their communities about potential risks.

  • In Nepal, the NGO Maiti Nepal works in rural districts that have high rates of sex trafficking to raise awareness about how girls are kidnapped or lured into the sex industry, and Media Alert, also an NGO, is creating a film exposing the realities of life in Indian brothels to be shown in villages.
  • In Thailand, the Daughters’ Education Program alerts youth, their families, and community members to the dangers of prostitution.
  • In Benin, Enfants en Situation Difficile has organized a radio campaign and village awareness workshops to warn parents of the risks their daughters face when they are sold or abducted to work as domestic servants in cities and neighboring countries.

-Information provided via the UN-




-Tru Focus-

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