Georgetown, Guyana (September 29, 2017) Two graduates from First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger’s 20th Self-Reliance and Success in Business workshop, today, announced plans to establish a library to benefit residents of Timehri North, East Bank Demerara (EBD). The women numbered among the 37 graduates from the five-day workshop, which was held in the auditorium of the Regional sub-office.

Ms. Rajini Nauth and Ms. Claire Ann Prescod are both members of the Vibrant Women Empowerment Group, which is one of three groups formed in fulfilment of the Community component of the workshop. The three-fold workshop aims to teach participants to become Masters of the ‘Six Ps’ of Business and also includes a Quality of Life and Community Action plan to empower women to become decision-makers in all aspects of their lives. Both women believe that providing access to library services for students will reduce the incidence of truancy and anti-social behaviours among youth. Ms. Nauth also revealed plans to establish a dormitory, Adalisa’s Sweet Home, where she will provide habitation for persons from far-flung communities who travel to Georgetown for employment or for academic pursuits. The facility, she said, will also include a library, day care centre and gym.

Meanwhile, Ms. Prescod said that she intends to use her newly-acquired skills to expand and diversify her business, Arietty Forest and Agriculture Product and Investment Service. Currently, her business offers forest products and lesser known-species of wood for sale and she plans to produce and market charcoal for sale and export.

Another graduate, Ms. Jenelle Jones of Supply, EBD presented a business plan to cultivate organic vegetables for sale. “I will start small in our community, the churches that I go [to], in schools…and afterwards, I will expand. I will seek other places like supermarkets and if possible, export,” she said. Ms. Jones also said that the Quality of Life and Community Action plans also inspired her to reach out to other parents to teach them how to be more nurturing towards their children. “This programme also helped me to open my eyes to make changes, to [make a difference] in my community, to be more interested, to be more helpful, so our Women’s Action Group plan to work on [erecting a] building and our focus is on [reducing] teenage pregnancy,” she said.

The First Lady told the graduates that she was very impressed with the confidence that they displayed today after the one-week training. “I looked around at the talent you have on display and I hoped that at the end of this you will have learnt enough to either go into business on your own or form a group of people so that you can corner the market for all the uniforms children need on the East Bank. …You can demonstrate to people that you are a sure bet when it comes to making uniforms for our children going to the schools in in this area,” she said.

Mrs. Granger also encouraged the graduates to actively use their certificates and the tools that they have learned at their workshop to better themselves. “This certificate is not a piece of paper to throw in a drawer. Your certificate is something that shows that you have learnt the basics of what it means to set up and run a business successfully,” she said.

Attorney-at-Law, Mr. James Bond, who helped to co-ordinate the workshop, expressed similar sentiments and shared his hope to see the graduates, now empowered, take full advantage of the opportunities before them. “This is time and opportunity that were given to you, women of the East Bank, and I want you to seize it. I want you to buy into it. I want you to believe in yourselves that with the tools you have been equipped with … that you could become successful,” he said.

Facilitator, Interweave Solutions (Guyana) Incorporated, Mr. Sanjay Pooran, expressed gratitude to the First Lady and her office for their continued support of the programme. Mr. Pooran cautioned the graduates against procrastination and explained that the certificate empowers them to do more than open a business. “We hope that you don’t remain stagnant, we hope that you grow those small enterprises to become community giants, and hopefully regional giants, and hopefully national giants, where you can contribute to the economy in a greater way. Don’t underestimate the contribution that small businesses make,” he said.

Before the close of the programme, graduates Ms. Tomika Gonsalves and Ms. Alizia Clarke performed a dramatic piece that highlighted negative business practices and provided the remedy to those, based on the skills taught in the workshop. In addition, the First Lady and Mr. Pooran presented Ms. Mahala D. St. John with a certificate for saving the most money, during the course of the workshop.

Regional Executive Officer, Demerara-Mahaica, Ms. Pauline Lucas, Lieutenant Colonel (ret’d) Yvonne Smith of the Office of the First Lady and Facilitator, Interweave Solutions, Ms. Crystal Baptiste, also attended the ceremony.

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