CHILDREN CALL FOR PEACE AND UNITY IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
18th September, 2023 – Port-of-Spain: Children in Trinidad and Tobago are boldly championing peace and unity at the Heroes Foundation in Woodbrook, Port-of-Spain. The striking mural now adorning the Heroes Headquarters is the outcome of a communication and advocacy initiative by thirty local and migrant participants in the Heroes Development Programme (HDP). Their aim is to inspire positive societal change.
HDP is a comprehensive three-year program designed for secondary school students in Forms 1-3 and migrant youths aged 11 to 17. Developed with support from UNICEF, this Caribbean-focused curriculum blends psychosocial development and sustainability education with child and youth-led advocacy and action. The mural project is part of the WebPal integration activity, supported by the Pan-American Development Foundation (PADF) and Protec Group, where participants learn about each other’s cultures, share experiences, understand different languages, and build a sense of community in safe spaces.
Leorbeidys, 13, a participant in the Heroes Development Programme
Among these budding changemakers is Leorbeidys, a thirteen-year-old who played a pivotal role in conceptualising the mural. Her favourite message,
“One Planet, One People – Peace Is What We Need,”
embodies her vision of a harmonious world rooted in mutual respect. She explained,
“I believe that we can coexist peacefully, without problems and discrimination, if we respect one another. I hope this mural encourages people to make our country better, just like Heroes Foundation encourages and supports us to do better together.”
Lawrence Arjoon, Chief Executive Officer of the Heroes Foundation, emphasised the potential and essential role of young people in shaping a brighter future, stating,
“While young people often remain silent observers in our society, they possess profound insights from their unique perspectives and lived experiences. Here at Heroes, we are unwavering in our commitment to listen to their voices and empower them with the skills and knowledge necessary to pave the way for safe and sustainable lifestyles. The more we invest in their growth today, the more promising our future becomes.”
Lawrence Arjoon, CEO of the Heroes Foundation
Heroes CEO, Lawrence Arjoon, PADF Program Manager, Hannah Gabrielle Katwaroo, and Heores Generation to Generation Council Chair, Jovanna Khan.
Hannah Gabrielle Katwaroo, PADF Program Manager, added,
“The Pan American Development Foundation has been supporting the holistic, positive development of both local and migrant children through its partnership with the Heroes Foundation for over 3 years. Through HDP and its curriculum, we have managed to create innovative, shared and safe spaces for all children to acquire key life skills, learn a new language, participate in service-driven projects and develop their understanding of social issues that impact their sense of safety, livelihood and well-being. Through advocacy projects such as this mural painting exercise, as a society, we are able to visibly witness these acquired skills in practice and interact with their passion as young agents of social change.”
Marvin Tewari, Chairman of the Protec Group, emphasised the crucial role of peacebuilding initiatives with children and youth in combating crime. He explained,
“Adults are profoundly influenced by the values and behaviours they acquire during childhood. By guiding young people along positive developmental paths, fostering teamwork and camaraderie, and enhancing their skills through fun and creative means, we not only significantly reduce their likelihood of engaging in criminal activities but also contribute to shaping a more skilled and responsible future workforce and citizenry. We are happy to support the exceptional efforts of the Heroes Foundation and hope that more corporate entities will join us in supporting the development of children and youth in Trinidad and Tobago.”
PARTICIPANTS IN THIS PROJECT WERE FROM THE FOLLOWING GROUPS
- Belmont Secondary School
- Diego Martin North Secondary School
- Heroes Generation to Generation Council
- Marabella North Secondary School
- Southeast Port-of-Spain Secondary School
- Woodbrook Secondary School
- The Heroes Foundation Child Friendly Spaces