Hinterland Scholarship students intends to contribute to their communities
DPI/GINA, GUYANA, Thursday, June 15, 2017
“I want to attend UG (University of Guyana) and become a civil engineer” were the words of sixteen-year-old Tricel Stephens. She is one of the 78 students who graduated from the Hinterland Scholarship programme at the Umana Yana, Kingston on Tuesday evening.
“I achieved a higher education in Region Three and I attended the best school there is, which Region Seven could not have given me, so it was great,” Stephens said about receiving her education so far away from home.
Stephens said that her reason for entering a male dominated field is solely because she wants to give back to her community. She pointed out that “where I am from Kamarang, it is not really developed in terms of the roads and building infrastructure, so I really want to develop the place especially where I come from”.
She hails from Kamarang, Region Seven but gained her secondary education at the Anna Regina Secondary school in Region Three. She wrote eight subjects at the recently concluded Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination.
Region Nine’s Juewayne Andies, a sixth former of the President’s College, main goal is to get her Business Management degree from the University of Guyana. Andies detailed that, “This is my first time being away from them(family) and I found it really hard but it was worth being away from them because I was able to learn a lot of things, meet new people and experience different cultures”.
Eighteen-year-old Shania Wilson is currently pursuing an environmental science degree at the University of Guyana. Wilson hails from Bartica Region Seven and intends to give back to her community. The eighteen-year old noted that the opportunity presented to her through the Hinterland Scholarship Programme helped her to gain a better education.
Wilson explained that, “On completion of my degree and PhD. I will return to Bartica as we all know, is currently the green town in progress. So going back there and working back as an environmentalist is my way giving back and my contribution, my way of saying thank you for the support through the years while I was there and while I was away”.
Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs Valerie Garrido-Lowe delivered the feature address at the graduation exercise encouraged the youths to use the graduation as a starting point to help develop their communities.
“This is just your foundation that you are standing on, a strong foundation to go forward and specialise in these areas that can develop your home, our home the hinterland” Minister Garrido-Lowe said.
The minister pointed out that the Ministry has awarded the contract to build a dormitory for students interested in pursuing tertiary
education. The dormitories, the Minister said will be able to house at least 120 students.
“Those of you who do not have families in Georgetown, next year is your opportunity to come and take in your studies in Georgetown if you wish” Minister Garrido-Lowe urged.
Also present at the graduation exercise was Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs, Alfred King, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Samantha Fedee, Special Assistant on Legal issues to the Ministry David James and Director of Governance and Leadership for Indigenous Youth Astell Collins.
The Hinterland Scholarship Programme, formerly known as the Amerindian Scholarship Programme was introduced in 1962. The name was changed to cater for the children of mixed parentage or non-Amerindians living and working in the hinterland.
The Programme provides academic opportunities at both the secondary and tertiary levels, and promotes the integration of hinterland students into the wider Guyanese society. It also affords them the opportunity to benefit from quality secondary and technical education, not accessible in their communities.
This programme is supported by the Government of Guyana, through the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs and provides students with a monthly stipend, school necessities, accommodation and meals.
By: Isaiah Braithwaite