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Georgetown, Guyana – (June 19, 2017) First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, today, commended the 38 women enrolled in the Early Childhood Development Workshop for utilising the opportunity to learn skills that will help them to become more nurturing mothers and caregivers to young children. The First Lady made these remarks in her opening address at the workshop, which is being held at the Guyana Nurses Association at Alexander and Charlotte streets, Georgetown. The First Aid component of the three-part workshop will be hosted at the Guyana Red Cross Society in Barrack Street, Kingston.

The workshop, which is the first of its kind facilitated by the Office of the First Lady in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Protection, aims to equip women with the basic information and skills in early childhood development and nurturing care practices for the healthy growth and development of the young child. The First Lady noted that women are often the parent tasked with most of the responsibility for taking care of young children and as such she thought it was important to provide this training.

“I applaud your courage in coming [for the training] and in recognising that even though you might have been in the profession, that there’s always something new to learn. I would hope that on completion of the workshop that you will go back to your respective communities better equipped, more confident and ready to care for our children,” the First Lady said.

First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, is pictured (centre) at the head table along with, from left to right: Ms. Ninian Blair, Co-Facilitator of the workshop and Lieutenant Colonel (ret’d) Yvonne Smith as Facilitator of the workshop. Ms. Paulette Bollers delivers her address.

Meanwhile, Facilitator of the workshop, Ms. Paulette Bollers was pleased that so many women decided to participate, as early childhood is the most rapid and important period of development in a human life. “It is also the most ideal period to stimulate children so that they can reach their fullest potentials. Young children are in their most important developmental stage of life. Therefore what they learn during those crucial years will influence them for the rest of their lives,” she said.

This workshop is one of several projects that the First Lady has spearheaded, which is aimed at enhancing the lives of children, youth and women by providing opportunities for empowerment through education. At the close of the workshop, participants who fulfilled the requirements of all three components will be certified.

The participants were drawn from the Buxton Day Care Centre, Women Across Differences (WAD), the Luisgnan-Good Hope Learning Centre, the John’s Bosco Orphanage, Sophia and the Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana’s Georgetown district. Several of them expressed confidence that the workshop will augment their parenting and childcare skills.

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Ms. Sandra Khan expects that the skills she learns at the Early Childhood Development Workshop will help her to become a better parent and teacher.

In an invited comment, Ms. Sandra Khan, a teacher, said, “I decided to participate in this workshop to do better parenting and to go back into my community and share whatever information I have learnt in the workshop because we deal with a lot of students at the Lusignan-Good Hope Learning Centre … sometimes they are kind of difficult to handle, but with this workshop, I think, I will have more confidence and courage to do it.”

Ms. Adriana Chappelle, a representative from WAD, also in an invited comment, said that she believes the skills that she learns at the workshop will help her to become a better parent. “The organisation I represent is for teenage mothers and as a teenage mother I think it is very important for you to understand the development of your child,” she said.

Ms. Quemella Dodson, a freshman Biology student at the University of Guyana, said that, “I just wanted to acquire a knowledge of childcare so I decided to come on board because I’ve always loved children and I really want this certificate because … one day I will open my own day care and I can care for kids”.

The programme was chaired by Lieutenant Colonel (ret’d) Yvonne Smith, of the Office of the First Lady. Co-Facilitator of the workshop, Ms. Ninian Blair, former National Breastfeeding Co-ordinator, also attended the workshop.

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