Soroptimist International Barbados announced today that it will be offering a scholarship to a female final year undergraduate student at the University of West Indies, Cave Hill campus.
President Ayo Barnard-Rawlins made the announcement during the 55th anniversary retreat at the Sweetfield Manor, Brittons Hill, St Michael, to commemorate International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
The grant, which is targeted at students studying social work, gender studies or STEM (science, technology, engineering or mathematics), is part of the organization’s mission and five-year plan to transform the lives of women and girls through education.
“There is no better time than now for us, women, to join together and galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world,” said Barnard-Rawlins as she acknowledged the theme of the United Nations 16 Days of Activism under the theme Leave No One Behind: End Violence Against Women and Girls.
Also in attendance, Canadian High Commissioner, Marie Legault said during her feature address that the Caribbean is in the top ten countries with the highest incidence of rape.
Noting that the statistics are both concerning and alarming, she went on to disclose that 48 per cent of adolescent girls from nine Caribbean countries reported that their first sexual initiation was forced.
Meanwhile, Registrar of the Supreme Court, Barbara Cooke-Alleyne said violence and acts of deviance must be tackled during early primary school years.
“It doesn’t just start at 11 or 12 at secondary school, they have seen it before at home, in schools and they resort to violence,” she said.
“I know we are concerned about violence among our youth, so we need to actually go into the primary schools and make sure that we enforce the need for conflict resolution, different way to solve problems so that our children are safe when they go to school.”