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Georgetown, Guyana – (November 18, 2016) First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger was, this morning, greeted by an exuberant group of businesswomen at the closing ceremony of the Self-Reliance and Success in Business Workshop, which was held in the Conference Room of the of the Linden Enterprise Network building in MacKenzie, Linden, Upper Demerara – Berbice (Region 10).

First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger makes her address at the graduation ceremony of the Self Reliance and Success in Business Workshop for women held in the LEN building, today, in Region 10.

The First Lady congratulated the 40 women, who persevered and completed the programme, despite their initial apprehensions.
“I … keep telling women, always look for that piece of paper because when you go for a job if you don’t have your certificate that is recognised…employers may… take advantage of you. So my focus in all the training exercises that I’m involved in is to give you what I call a “bankable” certificate so that you can do something for your benefit with it,” Mrs. Granger said.

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First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger helps Ms. Shemika Solomon to display her certificate as she holds her son, at the graduation ceremony of the Self Reliance and Success in Business Workshop for women.

The First Lady then encouraged the graduates to continue to pursue their education and to always ensure that they are certified.
Meanwhile, Mr. Sanjay Yohann Pooran, facilitator of Interweave Solutions said his organisation is always pleased to partner with “our bold, get-it-done First Lady” whose passion for women’s education and empowerment is commendable. To date, over 300 women have benefited from the Self Reliance workshops, which are funded by the Ministry of Social Protection. “This programme is intended to build the formal economy and strengthen Guyana’s economy community after community in ways that will lead to more resources being put into the national treasury, which in effect benefits all Guyanese,” he said.
Meanwhile, in his charge to the graduates, Mr. Pooran said he hopes that they take into consideration that they “have worked hard and have achieved goals that you may have thought only a week ago, were impossible”.

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First Lady Mrs. Sandra Granger smiles after receiving a bouquet from graduate Ms. Cathy McNabb at the graduation ceremony.

The women were very impressed with the workshop. They repeatedly extended gratitude to the First Lady for again reaching out to their community. They also expressed gratitude to Ms. Sandra Adams, Assistant National Director of Community Development Council for organising the sessions and for encouraging them to participate. Six women presented their project plans, the most unique of which was done by Ms. Ingrid LaRose, the prospective owner of Excellent Touch Christian Bar. Her enthusiasm and marketing skills were infectious and by the end of her presentation, the audience was sold on the feasibility of her idea.
Meanwhile, in delivering her charge to the graduates, Ms. Susan Hamilton, Business Advisory Officer at the Linden Enterprise Network cautioned the women against complacency now that they have graduated. “You must allow what you’ve learned here to impact you in [your business] environment. It is through practice then you realise the benefits of this training,” she said.

In an invited comment, Ms. Emelda MacKenzie said she is excited to start implementing the techniques that she learned into her business. “What it’s going to do for my business, it’s going to [help me to] manage my business in the right way and… I will be less stressed. I’ll also be able to share advice in my community [and] help in developing my community,” she said.

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Ms. Ingrid LaRose wowed the audience with her proposal for a Christian bar for her community.

Ms. Mackenzie also said that Linden needs a big change and that she was excited to embark on the community component of the workshop. “[I am in] Women in Action and we have a four-point plan. Our group covers a wide area and we’ll be doing things that affect each one of [our] communities…we’ll come together, make plans, approach the relevant the authorities and …teach the members of our community to enhance our community,” she said.
Ms. Shemika Solomon, a young mother who brought her baby son with her every day to the workshop, was thankful that she was able to complete the workshop. “I’m glad that I did [it]. Most of the things that they [taught]; I didn’t know [about] so I’m glad that I come to the programme so that I could know all of this …so by January, I want to open an ice cream shop so I’m glad that I get to learn everything,” she said.
In fulfilment of the community enhancement aspect of the training, the women have already formed themselves into four groups that will meet to brainstorm solutions to social and other problems plaguing their communities. On hearing this, Regional Chairman, Mr. Rennis Morian indicated an interest in helping them to put their plans into action and advised them to form a Steering Committee to coordinate their activities. Mr. Morian said overall he is pleased about the impact that the workshop has had on the women after only five days of training.
“First of all I find it very, very positive for Region 10…. I like the idea that they are working with women. Region 10 – the women seem to be exposed to all of the financial vagaries of life so this would be a boost for them economically and it would also help their families. The Regional Democratic Council, also, is always there to assist any resident, more so a focus group getting into business so … I am offering the services of the Office to ensure that these businesses come to fruition,” he said.
Similar sentiments were expressed by Linden Mayor, Mr. Carwyn Holland who said that he is pleased with the turnout and outcome of the workshop. “If you can have 40 women empowered, it is like 40 families being empowered and with 40 families being empowered within the community I believe it’s a great start and a great move for the economy of Linden,” he said.
The programme was chaired by Lieutenant Colonel (ret’d) Yvonne Smith of the Office of the First Lady. Ms. Marcia Meredith, facilitator at Interweave Solutions Incorporated, also attended the ceremony.

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