Georgetown, Guyana — (March 12, 2018) First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, at the launch of the first Self-Reliance and Success in business workshop for the year, told participants that the workshop’s goal is to see the nation-wide emergence of business-savvy women equipped with the training to transform their homes, communities and the national economy. “The idea is to have a national group of women who are trained to succeed in business… The Ministry of Social Protection has always seen this to be a programme that benefits women… any woman,” Mrs. Granger said, in her opening remarks at the session, which was held at the Demerara-Mahaica (Region Four) Democratic Council office, Triumph, East Coast Demerara.

The First Lady also encouraged the 21 participants to use the workshop as an opportunity to break away from common business practices. “I took a very meandering path to where I am today… I went all over the place before I began to focus. You can do the same thing too… Don’t have a ‘kiosk mentality’… If you see… two ladies… [have] a big business selling cell phones… don’t jump and sell cell phones… Find something else that is slightly different from that, so you know that you [will] create your own niche… I’m hoping that at the end of this week you will establish your own network so that you can… brace each other when the times get a little rough,” she said.

Regional Chairman of Demerara-Mahaica (Region Four), Ms. Genevieve Allen challenged the participants to make full use of the workshop, absorbing all the knowledge and insight it offers. “I want to ask that you make full use of the information and experiences that will be shared with you… I want to challenge you further [to] strive not only to empower yourselves… I look forward to seeing transformation in your lives. I expect you to be that little flame from a candle, shining brightly to make a change,” she said.

Meanwhile, Director at Interweave Solutions (Guyana) Incorporated, Mr. Sanjay Yohann Pooran commended the First Lady for her championing work for Guyanese women. “I have dubbed her… ‘a Champion of Women in Guyana’… I think Her Excellency has done phenomenal work for women’s development… She has done well in the area of women’s rights and development in this country… Purely on the basis of her work through the Office of First Lady, she has been a dynamic and transformational First Lady” he said.

In an invited comment, Mr. Pooran said that especially in consideration of the recent observance of International Women’s Day, stopping a workshop like this would be detrimental to Guyana’s economic growth. “To stop the programme now is to suggest that women[‘s] empowerment should come to an end, at least from the economic aspect… Women are the largest section of the population. Think about it in economic terms… if you have people from the largest segment of the population empowered economically, that’s a transformative influence for the economy in and of itself,” he said.

The workshop is organised by the Office of the First Lady in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Protection and Interweave Solutions (Guyana) Incorporated. The completion of this workshop will mark over 1000 persons, the vast majority being women, trained through all Ten Administrative Regions of Guyana.

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