23 Region Eight residents ready to become entrepreneurs after graduating garment construction programme

Twenty-three residents in and around the mining town of Mahdia, seized the opportunity to learn a new life-skill two weeks ago.
Now, they have all proudly graduated from the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs’ garment construction programme.

The first batch of 23 persons in Mahdia started the strategically crafted programme on Tuesday May 9.

Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai flanked by two graduates

The ministry specifically selected that area for the garment construction programme, as there is a dire need for tailors and seamstresses in Region Eight, to meet the demand for school uniforms.

This complements the ‘Because We Care’ cash grant, which ensures each school child, from nursery to secondary, receives a grant of $35,000 annually. Together with the $5,000 school uniform grant, every child is receiving $40,000 per year.

Chairman of Region Eight, Headley Pio, hands over the certificate to best graduating student, Edith Williams

One of the graduates, who hails from Micobie, Julie Williams, said the training has been instrumental in her journey to becoming an entrepreneur.

“This programme has bring us so far. I learn to pedal and likewise to use the electric part. Thank you to the government because I learn something, so I can open my own business.”

Best graduating student, Edith Williams said, “I learn so many things. This is the moment I was waiting for my entire life. Thank you government for making my dream come true.”

Graduate of the garment construction programme, Julie Williams

Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai restated government’s commitment, to empowering persons in the hinterland.

“The Ministry of Amerindian Affairs continues to deliver across the hinterland, to ensure that our hinterland youths, no matter where they come from, whether it’s Mahdia, Princeville, Micobie, whether it’s Santa Rosa or Wowetta, Rupertee or even Parabara, they are all having an opportunity that they otherwise may very well have not been able to obtain on their own. We are very pleased as a government, as a ministry to support the young people, the women, the males to engage in meaningful activities, building their capacities, improving their capabilities of doing and making things happen.”

While this graduation is just the start of continuous training for hinterland youths, Minister Sukhai has charged the graduates to share the knowledge gained.

“You can go back and you can be able to start your own small sewing establishment. In some villages, there are sewing groups already existing but has become defunct. Your charge is to ensure that you revitalise those groups. Revitalise the sewing centres in your community and use it to the fullest.”

In the past year and a half, 129 hinterland youths received certificates, having completed the garment construction programme.

Apart from this training, in the past 18 months, 200 drivers have been certified and licensed and 165 solar panel installation operators were certified across the hinterland.