(Georgetown July 28, 2017) The performance by Eighty-one (81) youths aged 7-11 years old is being dubbed as a demonstration that heritage is not at all lost and that there is still hope which lies with the future generation.
Such was the utterance of Hon. Minister Nicolette Henry on Friday in the company of Permanent Secretary Melissa Tucker at the closing ceremony of the National Trust’s 7th Annual Children’s Heritage Awareness Programme.
All told Eighty one (81) youngsters graduated. As part of the o0ne week event, the participants worked on various heritage projects. They made models of Fort Zeelandia and the Children’s Millennium Monument. They also worked on monuments in their communities and throughout Guyana which they depicted in a collage using their skills and creativity to enhance the various sites. Additionally, they made wall hangings with illustrations of petroglyphs and a painting of an Aishalton Petroglyph. The students also worked on natural heritage areas as they constructed a model illustrating the role of mangroves in protecting our seashore/coastline and a painting of the Orinduik Falls.
These projects all aimed at promoting the importance of both our cultural and natural heritage, their significance in our country’s history and their role in ensuring the long term survival of these many heritage sites. They all used different creative methods and materials to produce their respective projects with support from the instructors, mainly staff of the National Trust. The group work encouraged team work, sharing and creativity.
Fully aware that there is still a need for more programmes to fill the widening gaps in Guyanese heritage and daily living, the Ministry of Education is pursuing efforts to have more related and sustainable, longer term programmes for all levels of children in the near future. In fact, the National Trust will be hosting a second programme this year which will commence in New Amsterdam, Berbice, from August 7-11, 2017 in an effort to sensitize a wider cross section of children in heritage education.
This programme was initiated and executed by the National Trust, the entity responsible for preserving and promoting built heritage and other aspects of tangible heritage in Guyana under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, Department of Culture, Youth and Sport. It was a one-week engagement undertaken mainly to educate participants representing the younger generation of the concept of heritage and monuments and their importance to our national identity.
The main goal of the programme was to ensure that participants’ levels of awareness and appreciation for heritage, both cultural and natural be expanded.
The exposure received by the participants included them being given a chance to explore the many monuments, sites, museums and artefacts and biodiversity which were announced as enriching.
Also enlightening would have been the exposure received from the various presentations, hands-on exercises, art, model making, archaeology, anthropology, and taxidermy. This, Minister said was no doubt “a unique experience and one that will certainly assist you during your upcoming school years, especially in social studies and other aspects of your school life, including teamwork which is extremely important.”
Based on participants reports they are now more knowledgeable and in a position to contribute towards the long-term survival of Guyana’s heritage as evidenced in their exam results. “I know you learnt a lot and enjoyed the programme while at the same time making new friends. I wish to encourage you to maintain the friendships that you have established; find out how each other is getting on. You may be able to offer a word of advice or encouragement in times of need. I urge you to share what you have learnt with your peers, relatives and friends such as the rules one should observe when visiting our monuments, or the importance of keeping the environment clean and being proud of our country’s heritage.”
Further Minister Henry expressed appreciation for the efforts of the Trust in striving to improve the standard of the programme this year with branded materials, increased students and more uniformity.
“I am aware that the response was overwhelming this year… exceeding the 2017 target of 50 students between the ages of 7 to 11. I was happy to learn that a past student from an earlier batch volunteered to work with you this year. I am sure this was a wonderful experience for her to now return and share all she learnt with you. I am sure the Trust must be proud of her also, knowing that this programme played a role in her life, a budding University of Guyana student.”
The minister in handing out Certificates and books on monuments of Guyana as well as heritage thanked the parents for recognizing the importance of heritage education and the agency’s and Ministry’s work by enrolling their children in the course and seeing that they stayed to the end.
She also commended the soon to be hosted Berbice programme as a new addition which she certainly looks forward to seeing being delivered in many other locations throughout Guyana in the coming years.
In conclusion, I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank our enthusiastic participants for their sustained commitment to this programme.
Chairman of the National Trust’s Board, Mr Hernandez also made remarks at the closing ceremony at the Carifesta Sports Complex, Georgetown.