GEORGETOWN, Guyana – President Dr Irfaan Ali says the government and Salvation Army will collaborate to provide students with special counseling sessions, this is in response to behavioral issues in several schools.
Ali made the announcement at this year’s launch of the Salvation Army’s annual Christmas Kettle drive on Friday, in which he also handed over a cheque to the organisation.
The contribution will support the organisation’s efforts to raise millions of dollars through the Christmas Kettle’s monetary donations and supply 1,500 food hampers to vulnerable persons.
During the event, Ali said organisations like these will receive support from the government to develop a special programme targeting vulnerable children and adults. He said this programme will proactively respond to the social issues affecting people in the country by providing much-needed counseling.
“We now have to proactively deal with issues in our schools. I am intensely disturbed about some of what I see on social media, it bothers me, we have to nip this in the bud and there must be consequences for bad behaviour.
“In the new year we will be launching a specific programme with all these partners to deal with this,” the President said.
He noted that through this program, the Salvation Army’s counseling service will target institutions and areas where these social challenges are prevalent rather than waiting for persons to approach the organization.
Speaking to the children in attendance, the President told them to recognise the beauty of Guyana. He condemned the attack on Palestine and said Guyana must collectively pray for the women, men and children suffering in the world.
“As a country, we must pray for our global family, as a country we must set aside a day before the end of this year when we lock our hands together in prayer for us as a people, as a country, and in prayer for the world, especially women and children.
“Thousands are being killed in the Gaza Strip as I speak to you. We have consistently said that the only solution is peace…there must be no excuse for the killing of women and children. The world must reject it in unison,” Ali said.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Guyana Salvation Army Edward Boyer said that the humanitarian values of the organisation is in keeping with the President’s empowering vision for the country.
The organisation provides service to senior citizens at the Salvation Army Home, care packages to various institutions, delivers 100 meals daily to the homeless and elderly and has saved the lives of many drug addicts through its drug rehab programme.
A recipient of the organisation’s support, Eric Cummings said he is a recovered drug addict.
“I have recovered, gained a life and restored my dignity. The process was hard because I spent four years of my life living in the streets of Georgetown. Drugs was my aim and that’s all I wanted to do.
“I had a family but I didn’t like what the family gave to me so I decided to throw all that away and turn to drugs.
“That was a great mistake…this guy (himself) was not pleasant,” Cummings said.
He has now decided to study to become a counselor at the Salvation Army.