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Minister of Home Affairs, His Excellency Mohamed F. Noersalim, has appointed Student Ambassadors in Domestic Violence from the Anton de Kom University of Suriname (AdeKUS). The students have been trained by the Institute for Women, Gender and Development Studies (IWGDS) in the reduction, prevention and fight against Domestic Violence. The initiative was a collaboration with Biza, UNFPA , UNDP and PAHO.

Renuka Biharie, coordinator of the IWGDS, considers it a milestone for the ambassadors, the institute, Biza and university. "This is the first time the university is cooperating in this format with the ministry, whereby students can contribute to addressing a very big social problem for society. You are ambassadors and you are responsible for a major task, to which the Minister will also hold you accountable. The minister and his staff are very gender-sensitive. This is evident in the projects and activities he has carried out in the context of violence against women and gender-based violence”, said Biharie. 

"As a future ambassador, it is your honorable duty to do everything in your power to use the knowledge gained including addressing any preventive actions. You are very important to the Ministry and to the whole society, because if we look at the figures of domestic violence they are still high. It is sad and we have to stop this. From our Departments you can expect good support in the coming period” said Minister Noersalim as he addressed the ambassadors. He indicated that working arrangements and evaluation meetings will take place in the near future. He invited the ambassadors to do their own exploration and find activities that the Ministry will support. He also pointed out the policy priorities of his ministry.

As reported by Biza, the leader of the Student Ambassadors of Domestic Violence, Patricia Pinas summarises it well:  "It's a privileged position. We have to change behaviours and make changes in society in terms of violence. This problem is not to be underestimated and it hurts a lot to see what is happening. We aspire to the ideal of a non-violent society and that is why we as the ambassadors group will make our full contribution wherever we can. We will be visible and make the most of everything we do”.

Photo credits: Biza