Free us Jamaican children from violence

My name is Courtney Greaves, I am eight years old and I want to be that voice for children who are voiceless.

I like to listen to the news and if I hear something about a child I just get a piece of paper and write it down and put in a poem form and I will let my mother video it so I won’t forget it.

The other day there was a girl named Shantae Skyers who went missing and she was found in a bush killed. It is things like this happening to our children in Jamaica that makes me very sad.

Violence scars children for life

It is very important for us children to be free of violence, because if we are not then there will be no love and the country will start falling down. Violence can make some children grow up to be monsters.

That is why I formed a club called Team Courtney, which is a group of children and their parents advocating for the voiceless and standing for our peers. We do things like have a candlelight vigil for Shantae but also treats. Like I was inspired by God to use my birthday money to buy lunch for homeless people in downtown Kingston and also Maxfield Park Children’s Home.

The other day there was a boy and his father was murdered right in front of him and then the next morning they came and killed his brother too. He was 13 then and started to fight people at his school. They had to put him in a home.

Photograph of Members of Team Courtney, children and parents, protesting violence against children in Half-Way-Tree, St Andrew.
Team CourtneyMembers of Team Courtney, children and parents, at work in Half-Way-Tree, St Andrew.

Children club together to help others

I met that boy when Team Courtney did a march in Half-Way-Tree against the violence. He came over and shared his story and asked for a candle to light for his family members who passed.

Children should not have to go through these things. But when they do, parents need to listen to their children. If your child comes there and tells you everything do not tell them it is just a fantasy. Even if your child has a nightmare, listen to the nightmare, because it might be a real thing that is happening to that child.

I am lucky because I have my mother Tanya. She inspires me. Anytime I feel sad she normally hugs me and tells me everything is OK. And she normally tickles me!  

Every child deserves a supportive mom like mine

The reason why children have rights is so that when they grow up, they can do anything they want to do, and be everything they want to be, and to have a positive way to look at the world.

I think that in the future I want to be Prime Minister, a medical doctor and an ambassador with UNICEF – so that I can help children protect their rights too.

Fulfilling children’s rights is at the heart of what we do at UNICEF. This year, as we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, we feature a special ’30 under 30’ series, highlighting amazing Jamaican children and youth who are using their skills and talents to help protect and realize the rights of other young citizens. The focus of the series is on efforts to protect children from violence.

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