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700 teens head households in TT

By MIRANDA LA ROSE Thursday, July 10 2014

The 2010 National Census has reported that 730 teenagers between the age of 15 and 19 are heads of households, due to circumstances beyond their control, with some having their own children

.“They bear the charge of making major decisions for their families, including being the breadwinners of their homes, Minister of Gender, Youth and Child Development Clifton De Couteau said yesterday.

De Couteau spoke at the handing over of $129,000 to assist student-youth participants taking part in the 2014 Global Young Leaders Conference in China, USA, and in Europe.

The handing over took place at the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development, Tower C, International Waterfront Centre, Port-of-Spain.

Noting that the local participants on the Global Young Leaders programme may not have experienced the reality of the teenagers who head households, De Couteau told them “as current and future leaders, your planning has to incorporate their concerns and needs.”

The 15 to 19 age group, he said was a small fraction of the local population numbering just about 98,300. From that number, he said the 730 are already breadwinners for their families.

Congratulating the participants of the programme De Coteau said their acceptance on the programme involving young people from 145 countries “is a testament of your leadership potential and academic excellence.”

He noted that their parents made sacrifices, some taking out loans to facilitate their participation and urged them not to let them, or their country down.

De Coteau also congratulated the number of fathers who were present noting that many times mostly mothers accompany their children to such functions.

“Your influence has encouraged these yong men and women to not only dream great things” he told the parents, “but to pursue and attain those dreams.”

The Global Young Leaders Conference students is a ten-day leadership development programme for “motivated and accomplished students.” The students were required to raise funds for their airfares and other incidentals.

Government’s assistance is for tuition costs, housing, conference material, two meals per day, English-speaking guide service, entrance fees, and ground transportation.

The student-participants are Nehru Persad and Adrian Persad — Presentation College, San Fernando; Aiesha Colthrust — Holy Faith Convent, Couva; Oneika Pacheco — ASJA Girls College, San Fernando; Nicolai Jute and Renard Jerome — Naparima College; Josiah Diaz, — Holy Cross College; Nicholas Brathwaite — San Fernando Central Secondary; Saheif John, Jamare Gibson, Shane Shearman, Rawle Edwards — Queen’s Royal College; Ishtar Redman — Hillview College; Yohance Dickson — San Fernando East Secondary; Aleece Warner, Eden Aqui, Paige Rebeiro-Agard, and Reneisha Ashton — Holy Name Convent.

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