GIVEAWAY: Cheryl Ann Gajadhar holds up a T-shirt that was distributed at the launch of her new book.

Tools

Teaching children about safety

By Kimoy Leon Sing

Seeking to raise awareness about child abuse, Cheryl Ann Gajadhar held a book launch recently at Our Lady of Fatima RC Parish Centre in Curepe to introduce her latest book Safety Tips: What Young Children Need To Know About Their Personal Safety.

This is the fourth book for the author who understands the terrible scars this crime has on children not just physically but mentally and emotionally. Her first book titled Girl in the Cupboard was published in 2008 and shortly thereafter was followed up by The Girl in the Cupboard Goes to School, a sequel to her first book that gives an autobiographical account of her life from childhood to adulthood; detailing her experiences of abuse since the age of five.

From her experiences, Gadjadhar has taken up the mantle to see a reduction and ultimately the elimination of child abuse.

"This workbook is intended to provide information through activities and strategies in order to help children handle challenging situations such as the dangers of the Internet, bullying and peer pressure to name a few which they may face from day to day," Gajadhar said.

She noted even in the case of sexual abuse the workbook which comes with a manual can also assist parents; teachers and even social workers create awareness of what sexual abuse is while facilitating and encouraging healthy discussions with children. For help the manual contains the numbers for the Social and Welfare Division, Rape Crisis, Families In Action and other organisations should you need assistance, she said.

Gajadhar said, "At the end of each chapter there are safety tips where children can read and be aware."

She noted that not much is being done to keep children safe and some parents who negate to spend enough time with their children and take an interest in what they do leave them susceptible to the criminal elements who prey upon their naivety.

"In the book there are a lot of pictures for children to see and understand. Some children may not know what their private parts are; who is allowed to touch and who isn't. If they are being abused sexually; who they should tell," she said.

"Sometimes we may think as adults we have all the answers and then a situation comes up that we didn't even expect with our own child in our own home and it shocks us. There is a lot of information in here they can get if they need to," she said.

The workbook which includes a manual and CD is available at Ishmael M Khan, Henry Street Port of Spain and at Jadoo's, on Broadway in Arima.

Gajadhar said, "I want parents, teachers and social workers to really wake up and be more aware. Parents need to take on their responsibility because like it or not their children are their responsibility. We need to be a voice for our children and with this book it all about raising the awareness of child abuse and keeping children safe."

"All proceeds from the sale of this book go towards a future home for children, 'The Open Cupboard' registered NGO Company SELF (worth) Outreach Against (self) Rejection (SOAR)," she said.

For more information email www.thegirlinthecupboard.com

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