The Foundation

Sweet Water Foundation is dedicated to the worldwide healing of Child Sexual Abuse. We provide therapies, trainings in the therapies, education around prevention, and
anti-poverty initiatives for children at risk of commercial sexual exploitation.

In 2006, when Hazel returned to Grenada, her intention was to work within existing psychosocial programs that sought to restore livelihoods and emotional balance to a country devastated by the disastrous Hurricanes Ivan and Emily, of 2004 and 2005 respectively.

Along with issues arising from immediate post-catastrophe needs – shelter, employment, income, medical care and other basics – she (along with many different individuals and agencies working in the same realm) found that the natural disasters had literally lifted the roof off of other deeply entrenched ills. These included a trend towards the commercial sexual exploitation of children (transactional sex for material benefit) and that trend’s off-shoot legacies – alcoholism and other substance abuse, intimate partner violence, incest, addiction, rape, depression, low work-place productivity and a general submission to gender-based, hegemonic and disaster-related problems.

Indeed, a 2003 World Bank Country Study, “The Caribbean Youth Development Report”, identified that the Caribbean Region is the place where “the onset of sexual initiation by force is the earliest in the world”.

In Grenada (as in other nations facing similar social pressures), impoverished mothers often find that they are unable to prepare a decent breakfast meal for their children before sending them off to school. Oftentimes, lunch cannot be afforded either. Needless to say, this paucity of vital nourishment creates environments in which students cannot pay attention in school, thus contributing to under-performance in academics, drop outs, high rates of illiteracy (30% in Grenada), and other associated social ills such as early liaison with sexual partners, teenage pregnancy, STDs and emotional pathologies of many different kinds.

Children, in an effort to save and protect themselves, sometimes turn to risky and dangerous ventures as a means of garnering the income necessary to help themselves and their families survive. These ventures all too often include sex for trade, or the commercial sexual exploitation of children. At the far end of this negative trend is the alarming increase in human trafficking and internet pornography in the Caribbean and Latin American Region.

Needless to say, these childhood excursions may yield adults who struggle indefinitely to live with such major long-terms symptoms as Stress Disorders, Personality
Disorders, Self-Abuse Behaviors, Substance Abuses, Chronic Physical Complaints, Eating Disorders, Disturbing Sexual Thoughts and Images, Difficulties with Intimacy, and an Inability to feel the Pain of Others (potentially leading to Predatory behaviors), to name just a few.

Single mothers often attempt to mitigate against the hunger that causes self-destructive behaviors in their children by providing them with the only nourishment they can….a cup of sugared water in the mornings in lieu of breakfast.

Sweet Water has another meaning too. It is a strong healing force, a medicine, if you will.

In the words of Board Member, Tyrone Buckmire of Grenada: “When I was a very little boy, I drank a whole bottle of Clorox. (A household bleach, which is fatally toxic.) It is only because my mother and sisters made cup after cup of hot water sweetened with brown sugar and forced me to drink them that my life was spared. If not for this sweet water, the doctors said, I wouldn’t have lived very much longer.” Brown-sugar-water is also recognized, in Grenada, as a very certain means of clearing toxins from the blood in a hurry.

As such, we take Sweet Water as our symbol and our medicine and we promise to make it flow through us to all who need it, in as much as we are able.