Now that 2021 is here and the long-awaited vaccines have become available, we await (with bated breath) the dawn of a new era: when business activity can once again become normal and productive, and when our social existence is not continuously choked by distance and smothered by masks.
Of the more than 155 programmes which Halo has undertaken since 2015 (excluding fundraising events), approximately 48% of these are youth-centric. Although it is estimated that only 16.15% of our total population is described as “youth” (between the ages of 15 and 24, as defined by the United Nations), there is still 22.52% of Antiguans and Barbudans that are 14 years old and younger.* The significance of this is evident – we most certainly need to invest in the young generation. At a time when the pandemic has distorted collective norms and has introduced a creeping possibility of loneliness and mental health complications, we need to pay even closer attention to the young bodies and minds that will be the decision makers of the future.
The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal of attaining Gender Equality by 2030 is also high on our priority list (15% of our activity is geared towards this area), as is poverty alleviation (23%). These are tall orders… but we remain true to our commitment of service, despite the financial hardships in which we, and many other charities, find ourselves at this time.
The Blood Donation programme, 1 Pint 4 Times 12 Lives was launched in mid-2020 by Halo Generation Y in conjunction with the Mount St. John Medical Centre. Whoever said kindness and concern were things of the past? It is truly encouraging to have seen so many young people heed the call – even those who professed to be profoundly afraid of hospitals and needles. A life saved is certainly a smile gained.
Our social media campaign, 12 Months of Giving, has hopefully brought a little sparkle into the lives of a few. Our winners were selected from entries by the general public. Thank you to all the sponsors of this program. As Vincent Van Gogh said, “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together”.
Until we meet again…..
H.E. Lady Williams
Governor General’s Goodwill Emissary
President and Founder, The Halo Foundation Inc