‘I believe in empowering women to speak for themselves’ – First Lady tells Port Kaituma Self Reliance graduates
Georgetown, Guyana – (August 19, 2016) Thirty women were, this morning, deemed women of success by First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, in her address at the closing ceremony of the Self Reliance and Success in Business Workshop, held at the Port Kaituma Community Centre, Matarkai Sub-Region, Barima-Waini (Region One).
“Your education is a lifelong process, while you would have completed this workshop you will continue to learn, to grow, to support each other… Go back to your communities and help other women to develop, not only in the business sense but also in all the things you would have [acquired from] the programme,” Mrs. Granger told the graduates, who hail from Matthews Ridge, Baramita, Arataka, Four Miles and other communities.
The First Lady then encouraged the women to share what they have learnt with the other women in their communities. “I don’t believe in speaking out for women. I believe in empowering women to speak for themselves. We believe that when women become empowered they empower their families and they are able to contribute in a much better fashion to the communities in which they live,” she said.
Facilitator of Interweave Solutions, Mr. Yohann Sanjay Pooran said the workshops focus on ensuring that each woman knows the importance of conducting legal and legitimate business. “We talk a lot about the importance of getting legal, registered businesses, conducting your business through the proper tax regime as established by the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), ensuring that you follow through with National Insurance Scheme (NIS), ensuring that the business you operate is not only successful, but legal,” he said.
Echoing a previous remark made by the First Lady about the link between empowering women and an overall enhanced standard of living for families and communities, Mr. Pooran said this theme is central to the training.
“The more women that are empowered, the more women that have jobs or own businesses, the greater our impact on poverty and a [reduction] of suffering in the community. Not only are we changing the dynamic for you personally, but we’re changing the dynamic for your family, your children and your husband. [You are benefiting] … you are going to be running successful small businesses,” he said.
Mr. Pooran reiterated that his organisation is proud to partner with the Office of the First Lady because of the transformation the training has fostered in people’s lives. “Good homes and strong families build strong communities, and in consequence they build a stronger nation, and for these reasons Interweave Solutions is very proud to be associated in participating with the First Lady’s office in this programme,” he said.
In fulfilment of the social aspect of the workshop, the women have already formed themselves into small groups that will meet to find solutions to social problems affecting their communities.
The groups are the Protective Women’s Group, the Matthews Ridge Women’s Group, the Baramita Successful Women’s Group and the Sunflower Women’s Group, which are all focused on combatting the prevalence of domestic violence, alcohol and drug abuse.
Meanwhile, in her address to her fellow graduates, Ms. Sophia Shelto, a business owner of six years and the president of the Matthews’ Ridge Women’s Group, said that the workshop has taught her several aspects of business management, which she intends to apply to hers. “By applying the ‘Six Ps’ to my business I am confident that I will succeed,” she said.
Ms. Shelto also pledged to use her role as leader of her social welfare group to keep the members motivated and inspired to continue learning. “As president of my group, we are committed to review and keep learning and improving ourselves by working together to create our group’s action and agenda; continue community action and service, help recruit new members and teach them about Self Reliance,” she said.”
The Self Reliance and Success in Business Workshop for Women has already been held in Lusignan, Demerara-Mahaica Region; Linden, Upper Demerara-Berbice Region; Lethem, Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo; Rosignol, Mahaica-Berbice, Mabaruma, Barima-Waini Region; Bartica, Cuyuni-Mazaruni and in Mahdia, Sub-Region Two, Potaro-Siparuni Region. The workshops are held under the auspices of the Office of the First Lady and are funded by the Ministries of Social Protection and Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs.