‘Guana Chat’ promotion team in action at Bonaire schools

During the past few weeks, the Guana Chat promotion team has visited all primary schools to inform pupils about Guana Chat. Guana Chat is a telephone helpline for all children and young adults in Bonaire from 8-21 years old. Calls to Guana Chat are free and anonymous. Children and young adults can call Guana Chat to talk about many different subjects.

Guana Chat Team

The Guana Chat helpline is a partnership between the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, the BES public entities and ‘Telefon pa Hubentud’, the Aruban children’s helpline. The mentors who answer calls are trained volunteers based in Aruba, where there has been a children’s helpline for 25 years. This means they don’t know our children, which protects their anonymity. The Aruban mentors speak four languages. The prevention co-ordinators of Sentro Akseso Boneiru have given the mentors extensive cultural awareness training about education and traditions of Bonaire. Children can call Guana Chat with all their questions, challenges and problems, or even simply for a chat!

Maarten van Ooijen, State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport:

It’s great that the helpline is now available on all the islands of the Caribbean Netherlands. It’s very important that children and young adults have somewhere to call with all their concerns and questions. A listening ear at the right moment can sometimes make all the difference.”

The helpline can be reached free of charge by calling 918 and is open daily from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. More information about the helpline and the subjects that children and young people want to talk about can be found at www.guanachat918.com. The promotion team from Sentro Akseso Boneiru and Care and Youth (ZJCN) visited primary school children in grade 5 to 8 during the past few weeks to tell them about the helpline and the website where they can find more information. Their parents also received a letter from the school with information about the service. The helpline can be called free of charge from Bonaire numbers from Digicel and Flow. Customers of other providers cannot use this free service at present but will be able to once these providers are connected.

On the  8th of July, Guana Chat will take part in the ‘Buki di Pret’ event organised by Sentro Akseso Boneiru. This event for primary school children will be held at the Sentro di Bario in Tera Kora and will include stands with information about health, with games, shows and much more. Guana Chat will be there with a photo board, information and key rings to hand out. Children can call Guana Chat with the promotion team for a first chat about a subject of their choice.

The event will take place on Saturday the 8th of July from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.