#BahamasKind initiative targets xenophobia

#BahamasKind initiative targets xenophobia

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The International Organization for Migration Bahamas is expected to launch a campaign in collaboration with IsraAid and Church World Services to help sensitize Bahamians and reduce stigmas of Haitian migrants.

The #BahamasKind will seek to foster increased community solidarity, encourage compassion and empathy, and reduce xenophobia and stigmas of Haitian migrants in The Bahamas, according to the IOM.

In its latest situational report, the organization said it intends to host eight activities to improve intra-communal trust, sensitize communities, and enhance cooperation.

The activities will include weekly journalistic talks with influencers on prime media channels, online activation, and physical activation of the Bahamian population.

Additionally, wall paintings on kindness subjects will be posted in schools and public squares, further solidifying the message of kindness in The Bahamas.

IOM Bahamas was established shortly after Hurricane Dorian barrelled its way through Grand Bahama and Abaco last year.

Dorian pounded the two islands between September 1-3, claiming the lives of a confirmed 74 people — and displacing thousands, many of whom resided in Haitian shantytown communities in Abaco.

The Category 5 storm destroyed the two largest of the six shantytowns on the island – The Mudd and the Peas.

The organization has been providing aid to the government in a number of areas and has also been assisting the migrant Haitian community.

IOM Bahamas is currently working with the Ministry of Health surveillance unit to develop a comprehensive risk assessment to determine risks of Hurricanes and transmittable diseases like COVID-19 in the informal settlements in New Providence, Abaco, Exuma, Long Island, and Eleuthera.

The Ministry of Health trusts that this project can help to mitigate the impact risks of a COVID19 outbreak or natural disaster in the informal, according to the organization.

In May, the international body released a comprehensive assessment of the preparedness of emergency shelters on Grand Bahama and Abaco Islands for the 2020 Hurricane Season.

The report warns that the islands ravaged by Dorian still do not have adequate shelter capacity for the upcoming season and put forth several recommendations for forward movement.

IOM Bahamas has also partnered with the Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE) to help to clear more than 23.000m3 of debris from private homes, streets, yards, and public spaces.

The organization will also engage in supporting up to 40 families with the repair of their homes.

Additionally, the organization began repairs to the Bahamas Elite Sports Academy who accepted 16 displaced migrant children.

The organization has launched similar initiatives in countries worldwide.

About Sloan Smith

Sloan Smith is a senior digital reporter at Eyewitness News, covering a diverse range of beats, from politics and crime to environment and human interest. In 2018, Sloan received a nomination for the “Leslie Higgs Feature Writer of The Year Award” from The Bahamas Press Club for her work with Eyewitness News.