‘Poverty among Caribbean Dutch youth requires urgent approach’

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An integrated approach is quickly needed to combat poverty among Caribbean Dutch youth, recommend the National Ombudsman and the Ombudsman for Children in a joint report.

Young people on Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius experience major stumbling blocks that make it difficult for them to get out of poverty, the ombudsmen write.

“Young people who grow up in poverty often experience not just one problem, but a range of problems in different areas. They end up in a repetitive pattern that continues from generation to generation. It is important that this is broken”, says Children’s Ombudsman Margrite Kalverboer.

Caribbean Dutch youth cannot fall back on various protective facilities that European Dutch youth do have, such as Chamber Training or Protected Housing. The lack of stimulating activities on the islands, such as sports, also makes it difficult for these young people to develop.

In order to break the vicious circle, the national government must work together with the local public bodies to, among other things, achieve better housing and care for vulnerable young people, invest in training opportunities in the area and ensure that young people have access to a ‘buddy’ or counselor who can support them in case of problems.

It is important that young people are also heard and can think along in solutions. Only by giving young people a voice will the chances of the measures intended for them being successful increase, the ombudsmen write.

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