By anguillian November 27, 2017 11:43 Updated




A UNICEF three-day training workshop was held at the Community College from Monday November 20th thru Wednesday November 22nd. This exercise is part of an on-going program, dubbed “Return to Happiness”, which was initiated following the passage of Hurricane Irma. The program is geared primarily towards the benefit of young children – helping them to cope with the traumatic memories of the devastating hurricane.

The ‘Return to Happiness’ concept was first developed in Mozambique during the 1992 civil war. Adaptable for various situations, it has been used in Ecuador with children of soldiers, in Colombia after the 1998 earthquake and in Nicaragua following Hurricane Mitch. Now Anguilla is privileged to benefit from this noteworthy program as well – thanks to the foresight of Ms. Susan Hodge, Director of the Department of Disaster Preparedness, the division that runs the workshops.

On Monday morning, The Anguillian spoke to Ms. Hodge. She mentioned that this is the first time that those persons who were trained over the last few weeks, in the “Train the Trainers” stage of the program, are in turn training others. “We are training facilitators today,” she said. “We have twenty-seven participants, and we are making sure that we have a full cohort of persons so that we can take the program out into all of the schools. We are also trying to see if we can take this “Return to Happiness” program out into the communities, as well, because although the program was designed for 5 to 12-year-olds, we have seen that some of the activities that are used can be tailored for adults as well.”

When asked how long the training for the “Return to Happiness” program takes, Ms. Hodge replied: “The training actually takes three days. We are doing Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in-house sessions, and then on Thursday we are actually going into the schools during their scheduled lessons to deliver parts of the program to the children. At that time we will be assessing the facilitators in the classroom, and their performance will be going towards the achievement of their “Return to Happiness” certificates.”

We asked Ms. Hodge for how long and how often the program will be highlighted. Her response was: “For any kind of future disaster or trauma that affects the community, this team will be on hand to give psycho-socio support. We are hoping that under the National Disaster Management Committee we can form a national crisis intervention team for the future. For any sort of traumatic event, therefore, we would draw from these participants persons who can assist and help the community to heal.” Ms. Hodge went on: “Speaking of healing, we have been toying with an idea of a motto for our intervention team. This idea is not approved as yet but, hopefully, it will, and so our official motto will be: Healing the Rainbow”. Along with Ms. Hodge’s light chuckle, we found this rather amusing and befitting, since Anguilla is colloquially referred to as Rainbow City.

Co-facilitators for the workshop, along with Ms. Hodge, were: Ms. Denise Robateau, representative of the Eastern Caribbean Office of UNICEF out of Barbados; Ms. Angelena Carty, Community Center Manager; Ms. Hyacinth Bradley,Community Development Planner; and Mr. Kenroy Rawlins, Fisheries Officer. Persons interested in taking part in this type of training in the future can contact Ms. Susan Hodge at the Department of Disaster Preparedness at phone number 497-2926 for more information.

By anguillian November 27, 2017 11:43 Updated


Latest Poll

Do you like the new layout of the Anguillian ?