Press Release:- Local non-profit organization, Do-Nation Foundation, has teamed up with U.S.-based Girls Who Brunch to transform the lives of Saint Lucian girls next July.
As part of the Girls Who Brunch Tour 2022 tour that aims at cultivating, inspiring and
empowering at-risk girls between 9 and 17 years old, an estimated 350 girls from Saint Lucia will participate in the local leg of the tour.
Girls Who Brunch believes this demographic of girls is being exposed to bullying, human
trafficking, self-esteem issues, and underestimation of self-worth. Through Girls Who Brunch, the girls are provided vital tools needed through literacy, education, life skills, and health & wellness to help them become leaders and difference makers in their communities.
Girls Who Brunch is a non-profit organization that addresses issues faced by people living in low-income communities, and sponsors girls in foster care, as well as sex trade victims and teen mothers.
Through mentorship, workshops, STEAM training, and panel facilitations, Girls Who Brunch teaches different ways of thinking that ultimately enables at-risk girls to succeed and
To date, Girls Who Brunch has positively impacted and equipped over 27,000 girls in the United States to become the leaders of tomorrow and also has reading and feeding programmes and holiday assistance.
The official media launch of next July’s event – “Girls Who Brunch Tour 2022: Saint Lucia
Experience” — to be hosted in Saint Lucia, was held on Tuesday, October 26, at the Finance
Administrative Centre at Pointe Seraphine.
One of the featured speakers was Fredora Alcindor, Social Transformation Officer in the
Ministry of Equity, Social Justice and Empowerment, who shared startling statistics related to adolescents in Saint Lucia.
“The PAHO Adolescent and Youth Health Profile (2017) for Saint Lucia notes a high and early age of sexual activity among young people,” she said. “More than 26% of adolescents 13 to 15 years old have had sex, almost 20% with two or more persons. Only about half of them reported using condoms in their last sexual encounter.”
Alcindor added that Saint Lucia also has a high adolescent fertility rate of 22 births per 1,000 girls aged 10 to 19, accounting for 15% of total births. In girls 15 to 19 years old, she said the rate is 40%. Youths aged 15 to 24 years old account for 17% of new HIV infections, with girls representing over 70% of the victims. But the risks do not end there for girls, Alcindor said.
“Girls aged 12 are the largest group of sexual abuse victims, many of which are incest cases,” Alcindor disclosed. “In 2021, several areas of concern affect this faction of society. Poverty remains significant, and, although it has decreased in the last decade, nearly one in three adolescents is still poor. Growing up in poverty and deprivation has led to some of our young girls to devastating behaviours such as substance abuse, early sexual relations, and involvement in other unsavoury activities.”
Founder of Girls Who Brunch, Ni’cola Mitchell, who traveled to Saint Lucia for the official
launch, praised Do-Nation Foundation for the work it has been doing, adding that she looks
forward to next year’s collaborative event being a success.
“I’m honoured to work with Do-Nation Foundation because we’re going to change some lives,” Mitchell said. “I will always work with you guys whenever you need me to.”
Meanwhile, Diane Felicien, Founder/CEO of Do-Nation Foundation, said next year’s event seeks to address the shortfalls in the system that leave young women feeling as if they have no channels to source or agencies to contact whenever they need help.
“We are all familiar with the rape culture that has destroyed many lives and caused the social fabric of many Saint Lucian communities to fall apart,” Felicien stated. “We are all also familiar with the recent cases of young children going missing, only to turn up hours or days later. Do we even know what transpired while these children went missing? Do we even care to find out?”
Felicien added that equally important is the stigmatization of young women, especially on social media. She said bullying and other forms of coercion have forced many young women to resort to drastic measures, including suicide.
“We sympathize with the families and friends of those we would have lost that way and
encourage and applaud those who survived and are now inspiring others,” Felicien noted.
The day after the official media launch, Mitchell and Do-Nation Foundation members engaged nearly a dozen young girls in a fun activity held at the Faux-a-Chaud Community Centre. During the activity, the girls were told that they will be participants in next year’s “Girls Who Brunch Tour 2022: Saint Lucia Experience”.
Formed in January this year, Do-Nation Foundation’s mandate is the provision of dedicated
service to eradicate social ills by delivering socio-economic support to affected families across Saint Lucia. Through collaborative efforts and sponsorships, people benefit from a wide range of services, including:
Rehabilitation and reintegration into society for troubled adults and youths
Holistic approach with each client and support to recovery from their situation
Teaching single parents the necessary parenting skills and how to maintain balance in
Police guidance/support/legal advice for victims
Monthly follow-ups and updates on clients
Community projects designed to foster positive societal change
Triage service before referral for counseling
Do-Nation Foundation is the brainchild of Felicien, who grew up in Marchand, Castries, and
witnessed the many struggles people faced there. Determined to make a difference in people’s lives, she quit her hotel job of nearly 18 years and became Coordinator of Volunteer Saint Lucia before moving on to form Do-Nation Foundation.
Headline photo: From left to right: Do-Nation Foundation founder/CEO, Diane Felicien; Girls Who Brunch founder, Ni’cola Mitchell; and Do-Nation Foundation Executive Director, Claudia Niles, at the official media launch.