Guyana | 2014 | 14 mins

“REBECCA’S STORY,” tells the story, a young orphaned girl having to deal with an abusive grandmother.

On a beautiful day in the Caribbean city of Georgetown, Guyana, a young couple drop off their daughter Rebecca and her little brother Aaron with their Grandmother. With parting hugs and words of love, Rebecca retrieves her favorite book, not realizing  it would be the last time she would see her parents alive.

Weeks later, their days are marred by their distressed Grandmother’s harsh words and rough hands. Rebecca yearns for an escape.  She finds hope in the intervention of Lindsey, a young witness to Rebecca’s plight.  He offers respite through an after school program.

Plagued by her own demons, her Grandmother dismisses his help. Undaunted, Rebecca soon discovers her Granny’s violent harshness and sharp tongue hide a troubling disability and desolate past. In a small but powerful gesture, Rebecca reaches out with an offer of her own, opening the door to better days for her new family.

About the Witness Project

WITNESS Project International is an arts-based initiative of The Margaret Clemons Foundation (MCF), a New York City based nonprofit organization.  Its mission is to stop the cycle of violence against women and children.  By using integrative counselor/teacher training, education, expressive arts therapy, and community/youth arts initiatives. MCF is partnered with Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, and the Government of Guyana, South America.  They will create a template for change to be used first in Guyana, then throughout the Caribbean, Latin America, and the world.

The pilot program for building this template is in Guyana.  It is a country mired in gender violence.  And with a government motivated to partner with organizations to address this humanitarian problem with social, cultural, educational, health, and economic consequences for families and society. Guyana is small enough for real change to be tracked over time.  It is English speaking.  MCF has partnerships with the Government of Guyana, Ministry of Education, and Child Protective Services.  Along with organizations like Help & Shelter working to address gender violence, and children/families in crisis.

As part of this template for change, Lesley University, in conjunction with MCF and the Guyana Ministry of Education, launched a unique Master’s Degree Program specifically tailored for individuals working in social services and schools. The Master’s Degree Program in Trauma Sensitive Assessment, Intervention, and Consultation equips graduates to bring improved counseling and support services to families and individuals.

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