Georgetown, Guyana — (January 25, 2018) First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, today, was invited by the Diplomatic Corps to speak about the plethora of projects and activities she has initiated since 2015. The Diplomatic luncheon, which was sponsored by Iwokrama International Centre for Conservation, the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), saw the attendance of all 29 members of the corps and was hosted at the Herdmanston Lodge Hotel, Anira Street, Georgetown.
In her address to the corps’ members, Mrs. Granger, who has focused her work on youth, women and the elderly, explained that she had been advised to focus on one social issue as her platform but decided against it as she believed there is a voluminous amount of societal matters that needed to be addressed. “There are so many issues, which challenge us as a people on the economic, social and political fronts. We are faced with endemic interpersonal violence, trafficking in persons, teenage pregnancy, an unacceptably high rate of school dropouts, unemployed and unemployable young people, risky sexual behaviour, neglect of our senior citizens, to name a few. I realised that many of the issues, which retard our society are interlinked. Thus, my decision to tackle several issues at the same time” she said.
First Lady went on to share, in detail, the work she has been doing. Opening with her work with adolescent mothers, she said that her involvement has been influenced by her concern that too many young women were being left behind. This concern led her to create partnerships with organisations such as Women across differences (WAD), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Republic Bank Guyana Limited. Speaking on the empowerment sessions, which her office has organised, Mrs. Granger said, “The young ladies are encouraged and have participated in other workshops coordinated by my office. One teenage mother has graduated with a diploma in Social Work and another is in her final year.”
Further, she dived into her work in information and communications technology (ICT) workshops for adolescent and out of school youths, as well as the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Guyana project, which has seen continuous success and recognition both locally and internationally. The STEM Guyana programme, the First Lady said is now being expanded.
Finally, Mrs. Granger spoke on her Self-Reliance and Success in Business Workshops. “Following the data, which indicates that women contribute over 60 percent of their income to their families compared to 30-40 percent for men, we have encouraged them to become financially secure through the establishment or strengthening of their own businesses,” she said.
Meanwhile, Iwokrama’s Chief Executive Officer and Treasurer of Guyana’s Diplomatic Corps, Mr. Dane Gobin, in an invited comment, said that the primary reason the corps had invited the First Lady was because of the vast amount of work she has been doing. “I thought it was important to invite First Lady here today because she’s doing a lot of good work especially with children and young adults… Really it’s to hear from First Lady what are some of the initiatives she has and what I hope to come out of it is that some of the missions will actually be able to come in and contribute and support some of the First Lady’s work,” he said.
The First Lady also coordinates workshops on caring for the elderly and childcare. She is the vice chair of the Spouses of CARICOM Leaders Action Network (SCLAN), serves as a champion for change against stigma and discrimination of the Pan-Caribbean partnership against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP), a patron of the Guyana Girl Guides Association, the Step by Step Foundation, the Guyana Foundation and Women Across Differences (WAD).