Georgetown, Guyana (September 25, 2017) First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, this morning, encouraged the 34 women at the opening of the 20th Self-Reliance and Success in Business workshop to ‘think big’ and use the skills that they will learn at the workshop to succeed. The event was held in the auditorium of the Regional Sub-Office, Timehri, Demerara-Mahaica (Region Four).

The First Lady said that women often doubt themselves, thinking that they have no marketable skills, when that is not usually the case. “One of the beauties of this workshop is that it helps you to recognise your own power. Too often in this country women sit down and say, ‘I don’t know anything. I can’t do anything,’ when they are being very good managers, economists, and counsellors in the home. This is the 21st Century, you have to think big, you have to think that you can succeed, that you can do it,” she said. Mrs. Granger reminded the participants that education is not only for the young and encouraged the women to take full advantage of the workshop. “Education is lifelong. We can always learn… Enjoy [the workshop], learn from it, and hopefully, make a lot of money afterwards.”

Attorney-at-Law, Mr. James Bond, expressed similar sentiments and noted that women have made invaluable contributions to society. He commended the First Lady for providing an opportunity for women to become empowered through this workshop, noting that they make up one of two groups in our society that is critical to the nation’s development. “Women, as you know, are not only the backbones of our families, but our communities, but there is another aspect that we would like women to be backbones of also, that is in business… I believe that if the buy-in is there, if more women come into this programme that Guyana will improve as a country,” he said.

Meanwhile, Facilitator, Interweave Solutions (Guyana) Incorporated, Mr. Sanjay Pooran, congratulated the First Lady on the opening of the 20th workshop, which he said demonstrates her “visionary leadership”. “The whole idea [of the workshop] is to help women learn about themselves in such a way that they identify specific skills and abilities, which can help them make money, make a business, create a new profile for themselves in the market and success in life,” he said.

Several of the participants said that they are excited about the benefits that will accrue from completing the workshop. Ms. Jovita Atkinson, who describes herself as a hardworking single mother and businesswoman of Timehri north said that she is looking forward to learning how to expand her business. “I feel like I can push [myself] and continue in my small business … As a woman alone in a home, I see things working out nice for me… I prepare [snacks] to sell and I take the money and make a turnover,” she said.

Ms. Claire Prescod, treasurer of the Dynamic Youth Empowerment Organisation, brought a friend along with her to the workshop. “When you are going forward, [don’t] only take yourself, take someone along [because] when you get there, you are going to realise that you alone [are] successful … I encourage other women to come along [and] empower themselves … because if I’m empowered, they’re empowered, and we will get a better community,” she said.

Ms. Rajini Nauth, an aspiring importer from Soesdyke Grandstand Road, expressed her excitement about the First Lady’s initiative. “I’m very proud of her. I actually feel very happy that there is someone out there [who] really cares about women and what they want to do in life. … I’m glad that there is someone there looking out for us,” she said.

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