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Trinidad and Tobago

CYPAN creates awareness about body image and mental health.

Country coordinator Terez Lord (centre) and other members of the Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassador Network at its Breakfast and Yoga Soiree at South Park Mall, Fitness Centre on Sunday.
Country coordinator Terez Lord (centre) and other members of the Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassador Network at its Breakfast and Yoga Soiree at South Park Mall, Fitness Centre on Sunday.

IN keeping with the global theme of Mental Health Awareness Week, the local chapter of the Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassadors Network (CYPAN) hosted an all Girl’s breakfast and yoga soiree on Sunday to raise awareness about body image and mental health.

The event held at the Fitness Centre in South Park mall,Tarouba, saw patrons participating in yoga under the directions of yoga instructor, Priya Ali, of the Chaguanas branch of the Fitness Centre. The participants also interacted with each other.

Mental Health Awareness Week started on May 13 and ended Sunday. This year’s theme is Body Image – how we think and feel about our bodies.

Terez Lord, country coordinator from the Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassador Network at its Breakfast and Yoga Soiree at South Park, Fitness Centre on Sunday. Photo by Chequana Wheeler

CYPAN’s country coordinator Terez Lord told Newsday that people should not compare themselves to others. She encouraged people to join the conversation about body image, a topic in which she said women need to be a part of to express their sentiments especially about the perception of perfection.

Lord said: "Beauty is subjective. It is incredibly easy to compare ourselves and to sometimes berate and punish ourselves for looking one way especially when we see others trying to project perfection, which does not exist."

CYPAN is a youth-led organisation supported by the Commonwealth Secretariat. She said it is mandated to upscale and optimise grassroots, national, regional and Pan-Commonwealth efforts to promote peace, respect and understanding and preventing violent extremism.

Yoga instructor Priya Ali from the Fitness Centre hosts a session at CYPAN's All Girls' Breakfast and Yoga Soiree on Sunday at South Park Mall. Photo by Chequana Wheeler

Lord is also the CARICOM youth ambassador of TT.

"It is import for us as females, and for us, as humans, because this is not just a conversation for females, to feel beautiful intrinsically and express it externally," Lord said.

The organisation has been hosting and continues to host several projects, she said, geared at promoting peace using different themes among them anti-cyberbullying, countering violent extremism, career and mentorship, and peace and conflict resolutions

"We do these projects through seminars, through lecturers, through peace talks, through schools and community outreach programmes."

According to CYPAN’s official website (thecommonwealth.org), the network was established with the support of the Commonwealth Secretariat and grew out of a partnership with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Its mission is to connect, build capacity and provide support of youth activists from across the Commonwealth and beyond, it said.

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