NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (May 16, 2022) — The following is an address delivered by Mr. Mario Phillip, Gender Officer at the Department of Gender Affairs on behalf of Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams, Junior Minister of Health and Gender Affairs in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) on the occasion of International Day of the Boy Child on May 16, 2022.
The International Day of the Boy Child celebrated on May 16th each year is a great day for our boys – as equally important as they are – can quite often go unnoticed. It is for this reason that this day, especially for boys, was commemorated for the first time in 2018, in Trinidad and Tobago. From then on, the Day of the Boy Child has been celebrated each year becoming a day of international observance to highlight the challenges of boys, their achievements as well as to shed light on the special needs that should be met for their holistic development.
The Day of the Girl Child would have been celebrated for some years prior but it is because of our peculiar Caribbean context that it was decided that a special focus must be placed on boys, to ensure they become the men of purpose we wish them to be.
Boys face their challenges. They lag behind girls in academic pursuits in the primary and secondary levels, and are more likely to not finish their high school education. Boys are also more likely to participate in deviant and criminal behavior than girls are. This is evidence enough, that there is a need for us as a society, to extend greater efforts to save our boys.
While we often times give special shelter, care and attention to our girls, too often I see the boy child left to fend for himself. The need for parenting, guidance and mentorship is not something determined by sex. No, all children have the need for them.
As much as boys are often regarded as rough and tough – as is to be expected – they are also capable of virtues of compassion, consideration and care.
One of the things I appreciate about the boys I come in contact with is the way that they are very true to feeling – extremely honest. You never have to wonder what they are thinking. These attitudes should be constructed in our boys so that they become men of integrity who keep their word.
The Departments of Gender Affairs on St. Kitts and on Nevis have chosen as this years’ theme for the Day of the Boy Child – “Boys Under Construction: Building Positive Attitudes in our Boys.” No child is born ‘bad’ and it is just as true that no child is born good, but each child with the right time attention and loving instruction can attain the highest of values and virtues. It is up to us, you and me to take time out to direct and shape our boys into what we want them to be by talking with them, sharing our experiences of how we overcame challenges growing up, and how we planned for the future we are now living.
Let our boys know that they don’t have to grow up alone. Let them feel that they have the great support of a society that loves them, cares for them and expects much from them.
The Department of Gender Affairs has decided to present one boy from each school on the island of Nevis, The Boy of Excellence Award. It is our hope that the awardees will be encouraged and each boy will be stirred to strive for excellence.
We encourage each parent to do something special for your boy child this week. Make them feel special, valued and loved as they truly are.
Boys you are truly champions and you can be anything you put your mind to be. Set your mind on being great, hardworking and considerate of others.
On behalf of the Department of Gender Affairs, Happy World Day of the Boy Child!