Photo: Celia Christopher, director of the Department of Gender Affairs
St. Kitts’ Project Viola curriculum prepares teen mothers for work, life in general
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Programmes designed for teen mothers under Project Viola were created to assist young mothers to prepare for the world of work, as well as to build their personal skills, said Director of the Department of Gender Affairs Celia Christopher while appearing on the Nov. 29 edition of “Working for You.”
“We work along with other agencies such as the community health nurses to go in and speak to them about personal and career development,” she said. “The personal aspect involves self-esteem, gender-based violence, and sexual and reproductive health, which covers sexually transmitted infections and so forth. So you have one week of personal development and you also have one week of career development, then you have two weeks of job attachment. So we still try to get all of those components into the programme.”
She explained that the Department of Environment is looking into introducing a new aspect of the programme to further assists teen mothers.
“We are also now moving to provide parenting [classes] because of that programme,” she said. “We did it but on a little ad hoc basis, but we need something more structured because of some issues that are emerging with the young mothers.”
Project Viola is a programme for teen mothers that is conducted by the Department of Gender Affairs. According to information from https://www.facebook.com/pg/ProjectViolaSkn/, though it was initiated in 1997, it was not until 2002 that a formal system was set up to properly establish what is now known as Project Viola. This project has become a hallmark system in terms of women’s development due to the vulnerable population of teen mothers and their children in St. Kitts and Nevis.
More specifically, Project Viola supports this vulnerable group with a “holistic development” approach, resulting in successful adults and healthy children. These successful teen mothers can then also play a role in mentoring other young women to make good decisions about their lives and future. The project focuses on two objectives for the short and long-term. The short-term goal emphasizes and ensures that teen mothers complete their secondary education, while the long-term goal is to break the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse common to teen mothers and their children.