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Georgetown, Guyana – (April 7, 2017) First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, this afternoon, encouraged the 24 graduates of the second ‘Care for the Elderly’ Workshop to keep pressing on and to complete the other component of the programme, even as she celebrated their achievements thus far, at a graduation ceremony held in the Boardroom of the Ministry of Social Protection.

“I hope that you would not only have enjoyed this week, but learnt skills and techniques to carry you forward … what you have been trained in reflects the [scope]… of the Ministry of Social Protection and it is hoped that with your certificates, you will be able to move on into your professional life in caring for the elderly in one of our senior homes or in any other criteria,” she said.

The First Lady reminded the participants that they must complete the First Aid component of the Workshop in order to complete the programme. The five-day workshop, which was organised by the Office of the First Lady, will see the graduates participating in a weeklong First Aid course, which will be conducted by the Guyana Red Cross Society (GRCS) and will see them becoming certified to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and First Aid. In the meantime, she encouraged them to “use what you have learnt here [and] take it with you”.

First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger smiles as she presents Ms. Makeiza LaRose with her certificate at the graduation ceremony of the second certified ‘Care for the Elderly’ Workshop.

Meanwhile, Ms. Lorene Baird, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Social Protection, said that she was pleased about the partnership between the Office of the First Lady and the Ministry, stating that “it allows for issues to be addressed and services to be provided to targeted groups of persons for whom the Ministry has responsibility”.

During the interactive part of the exercise, which was led by Ms. Ismay Griffith, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Facilitator, the participants demonstrated both positive and negative scenarios that they were likely to encounter while treating their clients and the best practices to correct them. Several of them said that they were very impressed with the compact programme, which was held over five days and held firmly to the mantra taught by Ms. Griffith: “show some love”.

Ms. Joyann Hannays said many persons will be “lucky” to grow old and should treat elderly persons well. “I don’t want us to look at old people as [people] that we treat differently; we should give them the love, the care and the affection and attention that they deserve,” she said.

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Ms. Shanice Edwards (seated) and Ms. Esther Maison during one of the skits demonstrating ‘correct movement and positioning of the elderly’, during an interactive session of the graduation ceremony.

In an invited comment, Ms. Makeiza LaRose said she was glad that the officers of the Women Across Differences (WAD) encouraged her to participate in the Workshop as she has now graduated with a valuable certificate. “I always wanted to become a nurse and since I came to the programme I learnt a lot… I learnt skills that a caregiver needs … I learnt so much. I feel very good about it because I didn’t know that I [could have made] it this far. I’m so surprised and happy and I thank the Lord that today I live to see that I get a certificate,” she said.

Ms. Fatimah Ahmad Bacchus expressed similar sentiments. “I joined so that I can get experience in how to handle [elderly persons] and since it has come to an end I’ve really learnt a lot … that will be helpful to me in the future and I’m glad for that … these opportunities are golden,” she said.

At the close of the programme, the graduates presented the First Lady, Ms. Griffith, Ms. Hazel Halley-Burnett, Gender Consultant at the Ministry of Social Protection and Ms. Venus Smart, Public Health Nurse, with tokens of appreciation. The programme was chaired by Mr. Diego Alphonso, Head of the Men’s Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Social Protection.

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First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger presents Ms. Fatimah Ahmad Bacchus with her certificate at the graduation ceremony of the ‘Care for the Elderly’ Workshop.


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