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Belizean book “My Body is Precious” gets international recognition

My Body is Precious” has received an Honorable Mention in the category “Best Publication” of the ALAS-IDB Early Childhood Awards. These Awards are presented by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the ALAS Foundation to recognize the commitment of individuals and organizations working in early childhood development in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Written by Belizean authors Kim Simplis Barrow and Starla Bradley, “My Body is Precious” provides a basis for talking to children about sexual abuse. Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Kinnevik Executive Chairman Cristina Stenbeck, ALAS Foundation President Alejandro Santo Domingo, and IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno presented the distinction as part of the ALAS-IDB Awards Ceremony. 

The ALAS-IDB Early Childhood Awards recognize innovation, excellence and investments in programs that benefit children younger than six years of age. The recognition given to “My Body is Precious”, distinguishes finalists who stand out for their commitment and dedication to early childhood development, whether through their work with vulnerable children or by grappling with issues that are rarely addressed. 

The recent spate of sexual abuse in the country prompted Kim Barrow to write this book, which targets children of Belize and beyond, including children with disabilities. Belize’s Ministry of Human Development reported that, in 2012, the Child Protection Services received 784 cases of child abuse; 292 of these cases were sexual abuse cases. This includes only reported cases as it is estimated that there may be a larger number of unreported cases, especially in Belize’s rural areas. 

My Body is Precious” reflects Belize’s ethnic and cultural diversity. To ensure that the story’s important message reaches the largest possible number of children, the authors plan to publish a Spanish version soon and to translate the book into some of the ethnic languages spoken in Belize. The book uses age-appropriate language and makes use of culturally sensitive characters in the story. It can be used as a guide by parents, as well as by schools. 

About the authors

Kim Simplis Barrow is the wife of the Prime Minister of Belize and the Special Envoy for Women and Children. She is also Global Ambassador for Special Olympics International and founder of the Inspiration Center in Belize, the first organization of its kind in Belize to provide therapy and rehabilitation services for children with disabilities.

Starla Bradley is a social worker and Program Director at the Ministry of Human Development and Social Transformation. 

About the Inter-American Development Bank

The IDB is the leading source of long-term financing and expertise for sustainable economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. Its Education Division conducts research, provides technical assistance and finances projects to improve the infrastructure, curriculum and policies of education systems throughout the region. The Bank works in partnership with Latin American and Caribbean countries so that all students in the region may have access to quality education. 

About ALAS

ALAS is a movement created in 2006 by a group of Latin American leaders (artists, intellectuals and entrepreneurs among others) who are interested in promoting proper Early Childhood Development in Latin America and the Caribbean. ALAS was founded as a nonprofit organization in Panama, where its administrative headquarters are still located today. Since then, ALAS has developed several initiatives to promote Early Childhood Development as a priority on presidential agendas in the region. Its aim is to highlight the importance of developing comprehensive health, education and nutrition plans from pregnancy up to age 6.

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