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Peer to Peer: Annan Boodram

A retired educator of 33 years – 17 Guyana and 16 in the US – Annan Boodram wears many other hats. He is an army veteran, having served six years in the US Army reserve that included training in Japan and Panama and earning a number of awards and medals.

Additionally, Annan is an experienced journalist having written for many publications both in the US and abroad, including Caribbeat Magazine, The Caribbean Contact Caribbean Conference of Churches, NRI Today, Guyana’s Stabroek News and NewsAmerica.com. He is also founder of The New York based, The Caribbean Voice newspaper and magazine.

VP:  How did you get your start in the business?

AB:  The Caribbean Voice (TCV) is a registered not for profit NGO engaged in suicide and abuse (child, gender based, sexual, substance) prevention in the Caribbean and in that process we have built / are building teams in Guyana, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, St. Lucia, and Bermuda.

Our activism is done with a regional focus while we develop contacts in other Caribbean nations such as Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Suriname, Bahamas and Anguilla. Our motto is ‘Saving Lives, Empowering People’ and we operate on the belief that five minutes of your time can save a life.  The organization is entirely volunteer driven and self-funded.

VP:  What was your first notable project?

AB:  Our work is not project oriented but built on five pillars: lobbying and advocacy, counseling interventions (over 10,000 successful cases since we launched in 2014), research and information dissemination (we reach over 500,000 people monthly), collaboration building for social activism and awareness building and training (we have worked with numerous organizations and individuals in the Caribbean, North America, the UK and elsewhere).

VP:  What was your first breakthrough?

AB:  Being able to place mental health, especially suicide and abuse prevention on the front burner in the Caribbean. When we started in 2014 there were very few entities and individuals focusing on these issues and almost no one, not even media was talking about them. Within a few years that changed.

VP:  What are you working on now / next?

AB:  Creation of a series of anti-domestic violence and suicide prevention posters featuring prominent spokespersons from various Caribbean nations.  Project Change Agents, a three year project creates domestic violence change agents across communities in the Caribbean.

VP:  What songs are you listening to on Spotify / Apple Music / Pandora / Audiomack?

AB:  We have included music as an instrument to foster mental health in our work and we have a team of spokespersons that include singers and dancers from various Caribbean nations and Diaspora who have created a few suicide and domestic violence songs that we include in our work.  Friends can catch some of the music we support through The Caribbean Voice magazine https://www.facebook.com/groups/suicideepidemic/

 

 

 



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