Faith Word Ministries builds  shelter for abused children
THE Army Academy Institute building, a new home for abused children.
News
May 5, 2023
Faith Word Ministries builds shelter for abused children

A place of refuge will soon become operational for children in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) who are victims of abuse or abandonment.

Added to this, there will also be facilities to house young people who have found themselves on the wrong side of the law.

This facility which offers hope to at risk children is the Army Academy Institute at Dauphine.

PASTOR MARCIA CREESE

The institute, which has already been constructed, is the brainchild of Dr Raquel Creese and her sister Kozel Creese, youth ministers at the Faith Word Ministries at Dauphine.

The burning desire to help the young people in St Vincent and the Grenadines was developed after they witnessed many unfortunate situations during the church’s various youth missions across the country.

In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday May 3, Pastor Marcia Creese said the Army Academy Institute was born out of youth evangelism and other youth activities of Faith Word Ministries.

She said during these missions, the youth ministers came across children who are “battered and bruised, some of them are maltreated … some of them in different conditions “, so God gave them the vision to do this.

Pastor Creese said the land on which the Army Academy Institute is built, was bought in 2015.

On that land, the Army Academy Institute now stands as a beacon of hope for youths.

The building has two floors and will be able to house both male and female at risk youths.

Pastor Creese indicated that the building can comfortably accommodate up to 100 youths.

While the building was officially opened on April 10, it is not yet up and running, as there are some furnishings and other works to be done.

However, even before the building becomes operational, people are already making inquiries about its services and are anticipating getting help for children.

Pastor Creese explained to SEARCHLIGHT that the Army Academy Institute has a cell area, where juvenile offenders can be housed, instead of sending them to prison to meet with hardened criminals.

PRIME MINISTER Dr Ralph Gonsalves at the opening of the shelter for abused children.

There are also counselling rooms, doctors quarters and other amenities at the facility in Dauphine.

Pastor Creese said the target age group is 10-18, however, they will be willing to make adjustments where necessary, according to each individual case.

“We have one floor for males and one floor for females; they will not be mingling unless we bring them together for a retreat or a social gathering.”

In terms of security, there will also be cameras installed in the building.

Pastor Creese said that security is of paramount importance, especially for troubled children.

“We do not want to bring any children … especially troubled children, and the place is not properly secured.

“We have to have security guards to ensure that these children don’t run away. We don’t want them to feel like they are in prison, or they are in jail, but at the same time, certain things need to be in place.”

Apart from providing temporary accommodation for abused youths, the Army Academy Institute will also offer prayers and counselling to young people who are in need of that intervention.

The female pastor explained that in some situations, the young victim may need to be out of the home environment for a month or two and can be housed at the Army Academy Institute.

She said this is for such cases as molestation and sexual abuse where the Social Welfare Department determines that the child needs to be out of the home environment for a while.

“We will house them, we will have people there working round the clock.

“We are doing this for the whole nation, whether the child is from Fitz Hughes,or from Owia, Fancy, it does not matter. That is why we have the live-in facility,” Pastor Creese explained.

When asked to give a comment about instances of child abuse in St Vincent and the Grenadines, Pastor Creese said, “we have so much abuse going on, mentally, socially, emotionally. Our nation is filled with troubled children, that’s why the Lord moved us to build this building”.

“There are children who are abused and battered, rejected, some of them are rejected because of what daddy might have done, or mommy might have done … and they have to go and live with some family member,” she responded.

The pastor’s message to parents is to remind them that their children are gifts from Almighty God.

“That’s a living gift that will last and go on to leave a legacy in your honour, if you take that proper care of your child.

“Without children and young people, we will not have a generation, and without a generation, we cannot have a nation,” the female pastor stressed.

“People need to realize how important it is to look after these young people now.”

She said if we have ‘sobering’ young people, we will have a ‘sobering’ nation.

“But if we have young people that all they think about is murder and corruption, our nation will not be at peace. So we have to right now, target our young people, and let them know that they are loved, they are special, they have been designed by Almighty God, and God has a plan for their lives rather than abuse and crime and violence.”

Pastor Creese estimates that all the necessary finishing touches at the academy will be completed by July this year and the facility will become fully operational thereafter.

She is hoping that members of the Vincentian public will fully understand what they are doing and they would assist by making donations of furniture and other fixtures.

In the coming weeks the church will be engaging in a public awareness campaign about issues affecting children.

“We will be going through this nation at length and breadth … we would make it known, and we will be doing a campaign against violence and crime and abuse.”

She said that some young people are suffering in silence, but “ are afraid to talk because they don’t have anywhere else to go”.