Stand up to bullying, UN Ambassador tells students

Urging pupils to know their self-worth, United Nations Ambassador Makeda Antoine Cambridge on Wednesday advised pupils of Marabella North Secondary to stand up to bullying and to always look out for one another.

She was speaking at the school during a special assembly. The school has been in turmoil since a student Shindlar Cuffy went missing on November 26.

Her family believes she was lured away by a cult with roots in the United States. While Antonie-Cambridge made no reference to the Shallow's mysterious disappearance she told the pupils that they must always help each other when faced with difficulties.  She noted that gender-based violence continues to be a global problem.

"One in three women are attacked physically, emotionally and intellectually every day. You have to stand up against this because they are your sisters," Antoine-Cambridge said.

Saying it takes strength to walk away from violence, Antoine-Cambridge said, "Don't use violence as a solution to other problems. My mother always said live to fight another day," she recalled.

She called on all the pupils to look out for one another.

"Always remember what you do today affects tomorrow. If you sleep around you run the risk of teenage pregnancy. Have a plan and work towards it. Be careful of the dream killers who will tell you that you can't do it. Silence them by ignoring them. Find new friends," she said.

She also told the students that nobody owed them anything.

"Know your worth and go after your dreams and you will see success as you've never seen before as long as you work hard," she said. She added that students should never use violence as a solution to other problems.

"You ability to succeed depends on you. Work with what you have and know where you want to be. Seize opportunities," Antoine-Cambridge said. She told the pupils that she came from a humble working-class family at Quarry Village, Siparia where her mother worked as a cleaner and her father worked as a painter. 

Each day before going to school, Antoine-Cambridge said she had to tie out goats and feed chickens am. She said she never had spending money from Forms 1 to 6 but she never allowed this to affect her sense of self-worth.

Now at the age of 40, Antoine-Cambridge said she has travelled to over 60 countries around the world and understands the power of having God in her life. 

Cuffy was last seen by her mother Shondel Shallow on November 26 but it was only on Christmas Eve she found a note written by her daughter indicating that she left home because she was "called by the lord."

Shallow said on that day they both left their Rosehill Street, Claxton Bay home and walked to the Southern Main Road to wait for a taxi to take Cuffy to school. A few minutes later, a white AD wagon taxi stopped with two other passengers, and Cuffy got in to be taken to the Marabella North Secondary. She was never seen again.

- by Radhica De Silva

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