Children’s advocate Mary Moonan dies

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Mary Moonan –

Children’s advocate Mary Moonan passed away on May 2. Moonan had been a child right’s advocate for decades, working with and alongside ChildLine TT, the Coalition for Domestic Violence, and the Institute for Gender and Development Studies, St Augustine Unit, among others.

In a release, ChildLine TT said Moonan dedicated the last two decades of her life in serving many causes including child and youth protection and well-being, as well as domestic violence prevention and awareness.

It said under her guidance, the organisation’s operations grew from a limited operating capacity to a 24/7, 365-day toll-free helpline.

“Mrs Moonan also sat as a highly valued member for many years on the Child Helpline International Standards Task Force. She will be remembered by those close to her as a person who exemplified compassion, fairness, and equity, independent of age, ethnicity, political affiliation, and religion. The ChildLine family assures the public of its relentless and continuous commitment and dedication to the well-being of all children and youth in TT in honour of Mrs Moonan’s legacy.”

The Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CADV) extended deep condolences to Moonan’s family, friends and colleagues.

In a release, it said Moonan volunteered with the organisation between 1998-2012, and during those years, along with CADV founder Diana Mahabir-Wyatt, she worked to establish an accessible counselling service for abused children and adolescents in TT based on the ChildLine International model. CADV said this programme eventually became ChildLine TT.

Mahabir-Wyatt said Moonan’s professional services in supervising, fund-raising and administration of counselling services was the cause of the success of that programme which has helped 5,000 children individually, and many more through ChildLine’s work in schools.

“Apart from being a genius at handling money, Mary was the most indomitable person I have ever met. She kept working throughout her own difficulties up to the day she died. Her commitment to children was unquestioning and she was loyal to that to the end. I am missing a friend I valued very highly.”

Moonan was also CADV’s treasurer and maintained the highest standards of transparency and was strict in the organisation’s adherence to the principle of value for money and prudence in financial management.

CADV board president Roberta Clarke said, “Mary believed that civil society organisations should be efficiently managed and deserved to be well supported by the State, especially when these organisations were delivering services to vulnerable populations.”

The release said Moonan was an ardent promoter of the rights of children.

“She believed that children should live free of violence, in the home and in the community. Mary also led ChildLine in its collaboration and support of the UWI Break the Silence project, a project that focused on demands for effective social services and administration of justice to better protect children who are victims of sexual violence.

“Mary believed that we could and should all make a difference through acts of service. She certainly lived this principle. At the time of her death Mary was an active member of the CADV board and she will be sorely missed by us all.”

Moonan had a long career as a chartered accountant, auditor, and financial director before beginning to work with NGOs.