Georgetown, Guyana – (August 11, 2017) One hundred and thirteen young people from six, Linden, Upper Demerara-Berbice (Region Ten) youth clubs and student nurses enrolled at the Charles Roza School of Nursing, today, participated in a Ministry of Social Cohesion’s sensitisation workshop. The workshop, which was held in collaboration with the Young and Thoughtful Youth Club, is the second of its kind in the region and the third that has been held in the country targeting youth. The workshop was held in the auditorium of the New Silver City School, Silver City, Linden.

In his address, Minister George Norton commended the participants for embracing the session, even as he pointed out that the Ministry views them as critical agents of change, whose choices will inform their futures and impact their peers. “The youths have a significant role [to play] in fostering social cohesion. [Social cohesion will not] be possible if we should leave the youths out so your role is important. It is indispensable and we want you to recognise that. However, for you to play your part, we want to ensure that you are adequately informed about… what social cohesion entails,” he said.

Similar sentiments were expressed by Programme Coordinator at the Ministry, Ms. Sharon Patterson, who said that the workshop aims to introduce the youth to concepts that will help them to learn more about themselves and learn how to channel their energies and ideas into productive endeavours that will benefit them, their families, communities and the nation. Town Clerk (Ag) of Linden Mayor and Town Council, Ms. Oleena Obermuller, also shared this view and noted that her office embraces the Ministry’s initiative as it also views young people as future leaders. “I hope that, today, you guys learn as much as possible and take some little bit from what is being said here and put it into practice,” she said.Meanwhile, several of the young participants said that the workshop has given them a better understanding of social cohesion and that it will help

Meanwhile, several of the young participants said that the workshop has given them a better understanding of social cohesion and that it will help them to become more compassionate. “I decided to participate in the session in order to gain more knowledge about what is social cohesion…. For me, I will…encourage myself and my [peers] to respect others no matter their religion, their differences, whatever their [sexual orientation] may be. In order to have unity and in order to have a safe environment we must all come together,” Ms. Dawn Pearson, a student nurse/midwife at the Charles Roza School of Nursing, said.

Ms. Tishon Fraser, a member of For the Children’s Sake Foundation, said her group is already involved in social cohesion, though on a small scale, and she intends to use the knowledge that she has gained to augment her service. “In terms of working along with an organisation, as a team we need social cohesion so basically, [I came] to gain enough knowledge or more knowledge to continue on that path. As an organisation we are more involved with the public and young people so it places us directly in the position to actually inculcate social cohesion in the minds of the young people who we come into contact with through outreaches, satellite tables and [other exercises].

The programme also featured several cultural items including a solo performance of the popular song “Conqueror” by Ms. Akeila Handy, a dance to Jessica Reddy’s “Better” by Ms. Awana Primo, an African themed dance by Erupt Dance Troup members Ms. Donette Douglas and Ms. Shallon Adams and a spoken word piece by Ms. Luela Figueira.

Mr. Leslie Gonsalves, Social Cohesion Officer for the region, Pastor Selwyn Sills, members of Seventh Day Adventist Master Guide Pathfinders Club, the Upwards Days Federation, the Coomacka President’s Youth Award: Republic of Guyana group and the Totally Moulding Training Centre also attended the workshop.

In addition, on Monday, August 14, the Ministry will launch its Inter-Village Exchange Camp targeting 160 young people between the ages of 16 and 25 years old from 23 communities across Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo (Region Nine).

On March 1, 2017, the Ministry hosted a sensitisation session for Georgetown youth in collaboration with the Department of Youth, Culture and Sport of the Ministry of Education and, on June 17, 2017, it hosted a Diversity and Inclusion Workshop for Region Ten youth at the Woodrow Telford Auditorium of the Linden Foundation Secondary School in Amelia’s Ward.

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