OECS Media Release
Thursday, April 22, 2021 — Operation Youth Quake is the onlyresidential youth rehabilitation centre in Dominica, transforming the lives of youth in conflict with the law. Having been in existence since 1978, Operation Youth Quake has struggled with an aging building for many years. The USAID/OECS Juvenile Justice Reform Project (JJRP) funded a series of renovations for the Centre including refurbishments prior and following major destruction to the building from Hurricane Maria in 2018. More recent refurbishment work was required to facilitate an increasing number of children at the facility and new doors, windows, refurbished kitchen and bathroom areas and a new patio extension for the children’s recreation were constructed. The area below the recreation area will also double as a hurricane shelter.
Operation Youth Quake has been supporting youth in conflict with the law for years with a series of psychosocial and skills-based programmes to facilitate, personal growth, development, education, and skills development. With rehabilitation as one of the key pillars of the JJRP programme, the JJRP Team recognized the need to fortify this facility that provides a safe place for boys and girls in Dominica who came into conflict with the law.
Speaking on the contribution of JJRP over the years, Head of the programme, Mr. Lennox Abraham spoke of the gratitude he feels for the support of the USAID/OECS JJRP programme stating that
“We have been able to assist 15 young persons since Hurricane Maria in 2018. We provide basic life skills, communication skills, anger management skills, cooking skills, farming skills and animal husbandry to our students. Many students have gone on to work in kitchen jobs within various hospitality entities and to graduate from high school. JJRP has been a significant partner with Operation Youth Quake repairing much-needed aspects of our building over the last five years. This funding has enhanced our residence capacity and is enabling us to keep children out of the adult prison in Dominica. The recent refurbishments are 85% complete and we are very pleased with the results.”
One of the former residents of Operation Youth Quake highlighted the impact the Centre has had in his life expressing that
“Following a rough period of criminal activity and strained parental support at the young age of nine, I ended up at Operation Youth Quake where my life changed forever. I learned a lot; how to manage my anger, how to interact with people and how to cook. Youth Quake helped me to get my education. I graduated from secondary school with six subjects and went to state college with sponsorship from the Minister of Education. After many years of mentoring from Mr. Abraham and the staff at Operation Youth Quake, I am now the Operations Manager at Min Ya’s 7-11 and doing well.”
About OECS/USAID Juvenile Justice Reform Project Phase II (JJRP)
The Juvenile Justice Reform Project (JJRP) Phase II, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and being implemented by the OECS Commission, deals specifically with children in conflict with the law and the provision of diversion, rehabilitation and reintegration mechanisms for assisting children in the six (6) OECS independent Member States of Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Over the four years of JJRP Phase II, some key achievements include:
- Child Justice legislation passed in Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
- A Legacy model and framework to guide the use of diversion, rehabilitation and reintegration has been developed and is being adopted in all the countries.
- Diversion and rehabilitation options being actively supported within partner countries.
- Since 2016, Over 440 children have been diverted/given alternatives from arrest or custodial sentences.
- Over 215 children in conflict with the law completed Aggression Replacement Training (ART®). Trainers trained by JJRP now deliver ART® within each country.
- More than 1,400 service providers have been trained to improve the diversion, rehabilitation, and reintegration services provided to children in conflict with the law and their families.