International Day of families will be observed around the world on Sunday. But in Belize, the National Committee for Families and Children has kicked off the celebration with a series of information sharing events focusing on the plight of the Belizean family.

Pearl Stuart - Executive Director, National Committee for Families and Children
“We here at the NCFC has partnered with the various entities that we work with in implementing programs that affect families. I am talking about the Community Rehabilitation Department, the Department of Human Services and they are at the Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation in that we will be visiting the various media outlets and talking about what is being done for the families of Belize. This year’s theme speaks on the family being in poverty and the social exclusion which is a good tie in I believe in what has been happening here in the poverty assessment and to a certain extent the breakdown of the family. These programs that our partners have been engaged in, is looking at correcting what is going on in Belize with the Belizean family.”

Stuart says that while things are far from perfect for the Belizean family, she is encouraged by various initiatives that are being implemented to help raise the standards for the family unit.

Pearl Stuart - Executive Director, National Committee for Families and Children
“The family unit that is particularly outlined in our national plan of action for children and adolescent which the NCFC refers to its Bible shows that our objective is to make sure that the children and adolescents grow up in a nurturing family environment. From what we are seeing we can tell that is not occurring so what is it that we need to do? The very things that I made mention of that our partners are involved in. We have at the Department of Human Services we have the food programme, we also have the food pantry; we have via Restore Belize and also a program that they have at the Department of Human Services, community parenting where we are involving young parents especially in how to go about being involved in their children’s life, in raising them properly. We had my Chairperson on a show earlier today where she speaks of the schools through the HFLE program working with parents, how to go about working with their children. We also have through the Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation the SISB which is a Single Information System for Beneficiary where if you go into the system and you are getting a benefit for a particular program, being in that particular program we can see if there are additional needs you have and to make sure that we can direct you to where those needs can be met. So there are various things that are being done because the family unit is in trouble.”

Stuart says members of the NCFC will be appearing on various local talks shows to share information on Families and how they can access assistance. International day of Families this year is being observed with the theme: “Confronting family poverty and social exclusion.”