Georgetown, Guyana – (September 22, 2017) Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings, today encouraged the 40 graduates from First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger’s 19th Self Reliance and Success in Business Workshop to use the knowledge and skills that they have gained to forge a path of success. Thirty-seven women and three men from communities in south Georgetown, graduated from the workshop, which was hosted at the National Congress of Women Headquarters at Public Road, Kitty.

“Our Government understands the importance of investing in and empowering women in our society. As such, our Government continues to strategically engage in numerous initiatives geared towards women within the various strata of our society. The workshop is another medium employed to facilitate the dissemination of much-needed knowledge and information on ways women can employ simple, but effective techniques of business to achieve success and prosperity,” she said.

The Minister said that women often work in the informal sectors and they are among the majority of the poor, as such she commended them for completing the training. “I urge you to utilise the education that you’ve received for your personal development to the development of your children, your families and your communities. I encourage you to apply carefully, the knowledge acquired from this workshop so that you become businesswomen of the finest ilk. Show them, the nation that you are the trailblazers, not to be taken lightly, go out there and conqueror the world,” she said.

In addition to equipping the stakeholders with business management skills, Minister Cummings said that she was pleased to note that the workshop also taught the graduates how to balance their lives, through the Quality of Life and Action Plan and the Community Action Plan.

Meanwhile, Facilitator at Interweave Solutions (Guyana) Incorporated Mr. Sanjay Pooran, said that to date 676 women, and some men, across the country have been trained. “The intent here is for women to go back into their communities, in this case south Georgetown, and make the kinds of changes that would empower themselves and family, but the spin-off effect of that is that there is usually the involvement of others. You know, when you start a small business and it begins to expand, the impact or effect of that is not felt just by the owners of the business, people in the community are employed, they are given economic opportunities too, so this is a broad programme in terms of its impact,” he said.

Several of the graduates lauded the benefits of the workshop and expressed gratitude to the First Lady for spearheading the programme. Ms. Seeta Singh of Seeta’s Sweetmeat Shop in North Sophia said that the Quality of Life Plan has shown her that she needs to devote more time to her spirituality and to assisting others. “The other part of it is to learn to save. You have to balance your budget and balance yourself, learn to save …to improve your life…. This workshop is a beautiful workshop. I enjoy every moment of it because it inspired my life. I want to thank the First Lady and the Government and all the [persons] [for] it,” she said.

Ms. Anna Howard of Anna’s Ultra Beauty Salon, Donkey City, Stabroek, said that the workshop has taught her how to create a long-term financial plan for her life and her business. “I understand to apply the ‘Six Ps’ to improve my business … In life, everybody tries to achieve their personal goals, I have decided to use the full plan in order to get myself well-balanced. It [will] also help me to complete my education,” she said. Additionally, Ms. Rhonda Nichols, who operates a ‘fish and chips’ shop at James Street, Albousytown said, “I listened and I [found] it interesting … and then I started to learn a lot because I have a small business and I never [knew] that you … steal from your own business, I never [knew] that you have to [have] your own business account so I learned a lot for the time that I [came] so I’m very glad that I [came] to this workshop”.

The workshop was chaired by Lieutenant Colonel (ret’d) Yvonne Smith of the Office of the First Lady. Regional Councillor- Demerara-Mahaica (Region Four), Ms. Shondel Hope and Facilitator at Interweave Solutions (Guyana) Incorporated Ms. Crystal Baptiste also attended the workshop.

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