The Gatekeepers’ Programme was launched under former Health Minister Dr. Leslie Ramsammy to train lay counsellors, individuals who would possess the skills and knowledge to be proactive first responders in tackling suicide and abuse. A number of persons who were trained under this programme indicated to The Caribbean Voice that the programme was beginning to make an impact when it was dropped, after Dr. Ramsammy was replaced by Dr. Bheri Ramsarran as Health Minister. Since the launch of our campaign in 2014 we have been lobbying for a return of this programme, and while the current government did promise to bring it back, a timeline to do so has not been set up.
Consequently we reached out to Seva International, an NGO based in India and they offered us a trainer for a period of one year. While we are not paying for the services of the trainer we need to cover her living expenses and the cost of the training programme for the year, estimated at just under US$32,000. Towards this end we have set up a gofundme account and are humbly requesting readers of this newspaper to help us realize the goal of implementing this training programme by donating (no amount is too small) to our gofundme account which can be accessed at https://www.gofundme.com/lay-counselor-training-program or through the gofundme link at the top of the cover (first) page on our website, http://www.caribvoice.org. We also implore you to please share the link as widely as possible and urge family, friends and colleagues to support our efforts.