On Wednesday, December 1st, The Department of Community Development, Family, and Humanitarian Affairs (CDHFA) hosted its first annual interscholastic speech competition themed “Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility.” commemorating World AIDS Day 2021.
In his opening remarks, Minister of VSA Omar Ottley commended the participants for taking up the challenge, and he emphasized the importance of the youth being involved in spreading awareness of the disease, HIV/AIDS.
Six gifted young ladies representing three secondary schools gave memorable speeches, but there could be only one winner. Fourth former Angeornee Canhigh of the Methodist Agogic Center – Comprehensive Secondary Education (MAC-CSE) won that top honor as she highlighted the ignorance surrounding HIV/AIDS and the disastrous impact this sexually transmitted disease has on young people, third former Rianna Roberts of St. Maarten Academy PSVE won second, and fourth former Aisha Khatnani of Learning Unlimited won third place.
This event was one of many initiatives from the department AIDS awareness campaign collaborating with the Sint Maarten AIDS Foundation. Dr. van Osch, the Sint Maarten AIDS Foundation president, congratulated the participants for doing such an exceptional job. He also reminded the audience that we all have an essential part to play in staying safe and reducing the stigma and discrimination towards individuals living with HIV in our community.
CDFHA extends congratulations and appreciation to all the participating schools – Learning Unlimited Preparatory School, St. Maarten Academy, and MAC-CSE- to make this year’s competition a success. Special thanks to the team of judges for their assistance and stakeholders, Telem, Belair Beach Hotel, and the Caribbean Institute for Social Education Foundation for providing gifts for the winner and runner-ups of this educational event.
The Department of Community Development, Family and Humanitarian Affairs in its aim to create opportunities for the youth to get involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS, looks forward to the participation of more secondary schools and especially our young men in next year’s competition.