The National Child Protection Council (NCPC) and the Ministry of Social Services & Community Development in conjunction with Bamboo Shack and Kiwanis Club of Nassau A.M. officially launched the Cookies for Kids Campaign 2015 on December 1st, 2014 with a press conference at Bamboo Shack Nassau Street.
Pastor Gil Maycock, Chairman of the National Child Protection Council said, “The Cookies for Kids Campaign is an initiative sponsored by Bamboo Shack to raise awareness and funds for NCPC to continue the fight against child abuse. Thanks to the generous support of the general public and the management and staff of Bamboo Shack, to date, the “Cookies for Kids Campaign” has raised over twenty five thousand dollars ($25,000) to fund NCPC programs such as ‘I Gat a Right’, ‘Say No Then Go’, ‘Leadership Seminars’, and the Annual Child Abuse and Neglect Conference. Also, it continues to assist in the production of Public Service Announcements (PSA’s) to educate and inform the public on child abuse.
The National Child Protection Council, a volunteer committee of the Ministry of Social Services and Community Development, was founded in 1999 to develop a nation-wide concerted plan of action against child abuse. The council is also mandated to advise the Minister on matters relating to child abuse and to study, evaluate and recommend ways to continually address the problem of child abuse.
Bamboo Shack CEO, Elaine Pinder, is Chairperson of the NCPC Fundraising Committee, “We are delighted to celebrate the partnership between Bamboo Shack and the National Child Protection Council through our Cookies for Kids initiative. I am also passionate and deeply concerned about the prevention and eradication of child abuse in our Bahamaland. Bamboo Shack has donated and will continue to donate one hundred percent (100%) of profits to the NCPC for every cookie purchased. We encourage the entire Bahamian community to make a difference in the lives of children by supporting this worthy cause.”
Minister of Social Services Minister and Community Development, the Hon. Melanie Griffin, lauded Bamboo Shack for introducing the Cookies for Kids initiative and its ongoing commitment to the cause. She said the drive is “one of the most significant programmes” implemented in the fight against child abuse within the country.
Local officials estimate that between 500-600 cases of child abuse — emotional, sexual and physical abuse and neglect — are reported in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas every year. Minister Griffin underscored the vital work of the NCPC in helping to reduce the problem, noting that actual cases of child abuse are as much as three times more than reported.
“When you have that volume of abuse going on in any country, how can we wonder why crime is as it is today?” She said the abused children are often from dysfunctional homes in our society and when there is no intervention many of those homes are breeding grounds for crime and violence.
The NCPC has developed safety tips for children and parents that have been distributed to schools throughout the entire Commonwealth of The Bahamas. Its members also travel to various Family Islands to meet with school children and communities to discuss child protection
Pastor Gil further acknowledged the important civic partnership of the Kiwanis family, “We are proud that Kiwanis Club of Nassau A.M, under the presidency of Ms. Kelly Hanna, has taken up the mantle to partner with us to ensure that every child has the opportunity to live in a violence- free Bahamas.”
According to Dr. Novia Carter, Co-Chair of the National Child Protection Council, The ‘Cookies for Kids’ Campaign is an opportunity to create change and protect potential victims by encouraging all citizens to inspire change by raising their voices against child abuse. Supporting the Cookies for Kids initiative indicates one’s acceptance of a social responsibility to find the courage to speak about the unspeakable. Every cookie bought indicates another voice raised against the scourge of child abuse which is a key milestone to healing and to prevention. All forms of Child Abuse are life-changing, life-destroying acts of violence which leaves children scarred for life. Many people chose to be silent and some people chose to do nothing, hence creating more victims. The NCPC believes through the Cookies for Kids Campaign we are able to sustain public effort in our fight to create a Bahamas free from child abuse. So buy a cookie and break the chains of silence; let your voice be heard.”