Interview Series: Anissa St. Clair -- By Alberta Richelieu
Anissa St. Clair is an administrative assistant at a local St. Lucian law firm. She hopes to help break the cycle of poverty on the island and inspire others to do the same. She believes that programs that provide basic skills, such as; computer literacy and public speaking, are crucial in promoting social change. Anissa holds the view that education, particularly on global issues, is a necessary precursor to keeping women engaged and confident in their abilities to succeed in the international arena. She highlighted the need for educating young people on global and cultural issues via foreign exchange forums and programmes, coupled with travel opportunities that create a greater understanding of the world around us. This could foster a sense of confidence and engagement in the international arena. Most importantly, she views the reformation and creation of sound policies as a critical factor in engaging young people.
Anissa perceives breaking the poverty cycle as central to the promotion of social change. “ I think the poverty cycle can be broken by educating young people of their power to control when they reproduce.” She noted that education is necessary to sensitize youth on issues of sexual and reproductive health, and opines that access to basic health and reproductive care is also necessary. She holds the view that a greater sensitization of birth control can help women to achieve higher levels of education, and by extension, be in better positions to provide for and to educate their children.
In regards to entrepreneurship, Anissa believes that programmes that provide basic skills, such as how to manage a business, how to manage their finances, as well as market research skills, and financial aid to small businesses are vital to contributing to entrepreneurship. She indicated that tools provided by a similar programme advanced her current role in the workforce and continues to advocate for more skill building programmes to be made available for young people, especially those from disadvantaged communities. In light of the limited access to education due to financial constraints, she opines that such programmes must be made affordable and easily accessible to the average person.
Anissa views the role of men and boys as very important for the empowerment of women. She mentioned the need, on the part of women, to encourage men to get involved in women’s empowerment groups in order to push the agenda further. More particularly, she sees fathers as playing a critical role in empowering their daughters. She pointed out that fathers must make their daughters aware of the wide range of career options available to women, beyond the stereotypical female jobs.