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Impact Justice holds workshop in Belize

The Impact Justice Project is holding a workshop in Belize. The objective is to work with stakeholders to enhance justice for the benefit of women, men, youth and businesses in CARICOM member states. Chief Education Officer, Dr. Carol Babb spoke on the benefits of the workshop and the impact it will have on Belize’s Educational Sector.

Dr. Carol Babb, CEO, and Ministry of Education:  It’s about restorative practices and we have about thirty education officers, educators, principals, teachers, counselors. I think this workshop is very timely especially since we are experiencing the rise in criminal activities, there’s so much anger in our society. In our classrooms we are trying to be proactive. So we are encouraging principals and teachers to do little scenarios where they can find a little healing process and how we can build community and move forward. The objective of this workshop is to get the offender and the victim, to get them to talk and resolve their issues and to move forward and to get the entire community to support them.

The Regional Director of the Impact Justice project, Velma Newton, also spoke with Love News.

Velma Newton, Regional Director, Impact Justice: We’re training three Belizeans as trainers in restorative practice and they’re actually training some of their own. They’re teachers themselves and they are actually training principals, deputy principals and other members of the education community in Belize in the Restorative Practices Principles, when they are to be used and what the benefits are for the educational system. There were supposed to be twenty-nine, a few persons didn’t make it but the persons from the different schools in Belize and the Ministry of Education pulled it together and their principals, deputy principals, teachers, guidance counselors, you know persons from the education spectrum. This is the third workshop that we are having in Belize and training in Restorative Practices. We’ve trained just over a hundred persons altogether but this is the first time that we’re training persons as trainers because it is a three step process. You have the basic training and then you have a second tier of training and now the persons who do well at both ends; both the first and second steps, we choose from among them, persons who we’ll train as trainers. So when you reach the stage where you will be trained as trainers, you’ve done very well at the two levels. For the long term, the trainers, now the Ministry of Education will have persons who they can use to train others so that the benefits can be shared going forward. So we’re at the right place where we’ve got some persons from Belize who have reached that level.

Charles Mariano, a teacher from Ecumenical Junior College, is one of the participants.

Charles Mariano, Ecumenical Junior College Teacher: “Most of the time we are punitive as a society, we think about punishment however with a project like this teachers will be able to be enlightened about other ways how they can deal with students. Our society is a reflection of what happens in the classroom.”

The Impact Justice Project is funded by the Government of Canada under the agreement with University of the West Indies, Cavehill, Barbados.