The St. William Grant Park in downtown, Kingston will come alive this year with the 9th staging of the Child Development Agency’s (CDA) Annual Candlelight Vigil and Concert starting at 3:00 p.m. Dubbed “Bless the Children,” the event is being held in commemoration of World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse, under the theme ‘Uniting to Build a Culture of Child Protection’.

PR and Communications Manager of the CDA, Rochelle Dixon said that through the hosting this event it is the hope of the Agency to bring about fundamental change for the nation’s children by raising awareness and inciting action against child abuse. The event is free and open to the public and seeks to involve a spirit of togetherness for the care and protection of children.

“We use the opportunity to engage the wider society about the impacts of child abuse. The Agency reflects on, and pay tribute to children in Jamaica, and other parts of the world that have been victims of violence; and reaffirm its commitment to safeguarding their wellbeing and protection from abuse,” she said.

Bless the Children will include an expo, outside broadcast, an official opening ceremony, and concert featuring live performances from a variety of gospel and secular artistes. This year’s show lineup includes Chozenn, Rondell Positive, Wade Edwards Lubert Levy and his Heritage. Entertainment will also come from Ashe Performing Arts Group; Dub Poet, Randy McLauren; and Bashy Bus Kru.

There will also be performances from RJR Basic School, Lister Mair – Gilby Senior School for the Deaf, Genesis Academy, Clan Carthy Primary, and Blossom Gardens Child Care Facility. Minister of Youth and Culture, the Hon. Lisa Hanna,  as well as a number of stakeholders and service organizations such as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR), Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA), National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC), and others are also expected to participate in the event.

A highlight of the evening will be the cracking of glow sticks and release of balloons bearing the names and age children killed over the years, following a moment of silence which will also be observed in remembrance of all children who have been victims of violence.

Ms. Dixon is urging members of the public to come out and support the event which promises to be a worthwhile tribute for the nation’s children.

“Let us join together as a nation and create a circle of care and protection for our children, because child protection should be everybody’s business. The CDA and its partners remain resolute in the fight against child abuse, and will continue to play our part to create a better Jamaica fit for all children”.

The CDA has been observing World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse since 2006.