First Lady grants 15 scholarships to vulnerable women

First Lady, H.E Arya Ali today granted 15 fully funded scholarships to vulnerable women drawn from two local non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

At a simple ceremony held at State House – the official residence of the First Family – the First Lady granted eight scholarships to women from ChildLink and seven scholarships to women from Help and Shelter.

First Lady, H.E. Arya Ali addressing the small gathering at State House on Friday afternoon

The scholarships will afford these women the opportunity to pursue studies and training at the Carnegie School of Home Economics (CSHE) for one and in some cases two years.

The idea of providing training opportunities to vulnerable women was birthed out of a meeting the First Lady had with the Principal and Vice Principal of CSHE in November of last year.

First Lady, H.E. Arya Ali (seated centre) and Ms. Soyinka Grogan (seated left), Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Public Service, signing the MOU as Minister of Public Service, Sonia Parag (seated right) and representatives of the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and Carnegie School of Home Economics (CSHE) look on.

The beneficiaries of the scholarships are women who are considered to be highly vulnerable because of the conditions under which they lived or still live, and the fact that none of them were able to complete the formal school system.

While the Office of the First Lady will fund the tuition in full, Mrs. Ali solicited the support of the Ministry of Public Service to provide a monthly allowance to cover transportation cost, meals, and uniform.

To this end, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was inked between the Office of the First Lady and the Ministry of Public Service to ensure that this commitment is fulfilled, and that over the next four years, the Ministry provides similar opportunities for women in need.

First Lady, H.E. Arya Ali (fourth left); Minister of Public Service, Sonia Parag (centre); Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Public Service, Soyinka Grogan; and representatives from Carnegie School of Home Economics (CSHE) and two local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) following the singing of the MOU and the granting of the scholarships

“Guyana will begin to develop rapidly and if opportunities are not provided equitably, it can result in a widening of the gender gap,” the First Lady told the small group of representatives from the NGOs and CSHE.

She said that Guyanese must be cognizant of the fact that women are already disproportionately affected and that efforts must be redoubled to ensure that they are provided with the tools and resources necessary to improve their marketability and better integrate them into the labour force.

“I am very happy to be able to provide these women with a window of opportunity to empower themselves and positively impact those around them,” the First Lady added.

First Lady, H.E. Arya Ali meeting with representatives from the Carnegie School of Home Economics (CSHE) in November of last year to discuss future collaborations

Offering brief remarks too was Minister of Public Service, Sonia Parag, who expressed her willingness to support initiatives of this nature.

“I jumped on this opportunity to facilitate this activity specifically for the fact that these women will be empowered to the point of becoming independent. This is what we want to see in society; women being given opportunities and being treated equally,” the Minister said.

In addition to providing the monthly allowance for this year’s recipients, the Minister pledged to ensure that each year, provisions are made for this category of women to benefit from similar opportunities through the Public Service Ministry.

“I will not hesitate from 2022 to keep this initiative going,” she said.