Maximising areas of possible co-operation was the focus of the meeting held recently between the Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Charles Griffith, members of his team, and key members of the Dance4Life group.
During a courtesy call paid to Minister Griffith, the Dance4Life team, Shakira Emtage-Cave, Co-Director and Kayla Archer, Communications & Advocacy, shared some of their work to further the positive development of Barbadian youth in several areas.
In explaining the work delivered by Dance4Life peer educators, Ms. Emtage-Cave said, “The Dance4Life movement considers the spirit of dance to be the perfect metaphor to feel empowered in our bodies, find individual expression, connect and commune with others. Through our programme we educate and mobilise participating students to make positive, informed decisions about their lives and futures.”
Since 2009 Dance4life’s approach has generated the safe space necessary to educate over 30,000 young Bajans.
The Ministerial team, which included Yolande Howard, Permanent Secretary; Cleviston Hunte, Director of Youth Affairs; and Wanda Reid-Beckles, Public Relations/Liaison, discussed areas of possible cooperation.
Proposed projects included working with the government summer camps and a proposed collaboration for a youth summit towards the strengthening of youth advocacy networks.
Minister Griffith noted that immediate collaboration could begin with the upcoming National Summer Camps programme and added that he was fully committed to supporting initiatives that provided positive opportunities for youth development in Barbados.
Dance4Life, which is funded by The Maria Holder Memorial Trust, has been operating in Barbados for over 13 years. The group focuses on several areas of youth empowerment, including a comprehensive sexuality education programme that is implemented across secondary schools, the adolescent children’s homes and the male and female units of the Government Industrial Schools (GIS).
Their work with the island’s most vulnerable youth also involves a remedial reading programme at GIS, employment workshops, and targeted skills training through in-depth summer programmes.