Tuesday, September 27, 2016

GEF Holds Second Annual Sunday Fun Day for International Day of Peace

    U.N. Resident Coordinator, and Director of Youth spoke of national importance to foster peace and development
The Guyana Equality Forum (GEF) on Sunday last commemorated International Day of Peace with their second annual “Peace Day Sunday Fun Day” in which five teams from various civil society and youth groups competed in eighteen activities, including novelty games and sports. 

International Day of Peace was celebrated under the theme “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace” which supports the GEF's mandate of human rights and equality for all Guyanese since gender equality, quality education, good health, reduced inequalities, peace and justice are all sustainable development goals (SDGs). 

Peace and Equality 

Speaking at the Opening Ceremony of the event, the new United Nations Resident Coordinator for Guyana, Ms. Mikiko Tanaka expressed that peace is created in synergy with all the SDGs. Numerous studies, she said, have pointed out that poverty, hunger, unemployment, competition over natural resources such as land and water are factors that contribute to conflict. “Education and wellbeing, including living in balance with our natural environment and mitigating risks from disasters, are important drivers to sustainable development and peace.” Speaking of equality, she said that “peace can only be appreciated if we are all equal, despite our gender, race, sexual orientation, spoken language, religion or which part of the country we are from.” 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Remarks by Abdel Fudadin at World Suicide Prevention Day Candlelight Vigil

Remarks by Abdel Fudadin 
SASOD-TCV “Voices Against Violence” Candlelight Vigil for World Suicide Prevention Day

We have all been programmed to respond to the human difference between us with fear and loathing and to handle that difference in one of three ways: ignore it, and if that is not possible, copy it if we think it is dominant, or destroy it if we think it is subordinate. But we have no patterns for relating across our human difference as equals. As a result, those differences have been misused in the service of separation and confusion.

Prejudice, discrimination, social exclusion and mental ill-health are interconnected in more than one way. While people with mental illnesses may face discrimination due to stigma attached to mental health symptoms, discrimination on a variety of grounds can also be at the root of mental health issues.

Discrimination and exclusion have proven to negatively impact persons with mental health illnesses which then increase their risk of suicide ideation. On a social level, prejudice and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) are reflected in everyday stereotypes compounded by very rigid social identity expectations, for example, limitations on job opportunities, parenting, and relationship recognition are often justified by stereotyping assumptions.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Remarks by Allie Schlafer at World Suicide Prevention Day Candlelight Vigil

Hello and good evening. First, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Allie Schlafer and I am a current serving Peace Corps Response volunteer at both SASOD and Guyana Trans United, specializing in the field of mental health. For those who may not know, the Peace Corps is a volunteer program run by the United States government in efforts to address social and economic development worldwide.

As a volunteer, I will be working in collaboration with SASOD to strengthen and support the staff in addressing mental health concerns within the community. The comments and views I express tonight are in no way affiliated with Peace Corps but are my personal opinions based on experience working in community mental health and also individual experiences of losing dear friends who have taken their own life.

We are gathered here on World Suicide Prevention Day to address the difficult and painful subject of suicide, a reality which fractures the happiness of too many families, individuals, and communities across Guyana. The loss of a family member, friend, coworker or peer through suicide is a devastating experience. Those who remain after a suicide are often overwhelmed by feelings of sadness, hurt, and regret; they struggle to adapt or understand a life robbed of the presence of a loved one, often times grappling with the simple question – why?