Int’l Day of the Girl Child: Three young women empowered to lead

─ “You can’t know what goes on from the outside. People really judge what goes on here and they say they are not doing their jobs, or they don’t do as much as they should, but they really are.” President for a day – Renuka Persaud  

DPI, Guyana, Friday, October 12, 2018

In observance of International Day of the Girl Child celebrated on October 11, three young ladies were selected to act as President, Prime Minister and Canadian High Commissioner for a day.

Renuka Persaud, Delecia George and Sara Mohan were selected from a group of applicants and took up their respective roles on October 9.

The initiative, spearheaded by the Canadian High Commission in Guyana, encouraged young women between the ages of 15 – 20 to submit a 30-60 second video, explaining why they think International Day of the Girl Child should be observed in Guyana.

They were also required to highlight three major issues affecting girls and women in Guyana. The three young ladies were prepped prior to taking up their responsibilities for the day.

Each young lady took the opportunity to highlight, to those they met, their specific interests and discussed the issues raised in their videos. They were given a tour of the Ministry of the Presidency and the Parliament Buildings.

President for a day

President for a day, Renuka Persaud, during her meeting with First Lady Sandra Granger, advocated for more women to be given the opportunity to study in the field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Persaud, who is an aspiring Software Engineer, resides in Enmore, East Coast Demerara. When asked to reflect on her one-day experience, she remarked: “It was an honour to have the President’s seat, first of all, he physically gave up the seat to me and let me address the Cabinet, I met with [First Lady], Mrs. Sandra Granger and we had a really great discussion about what’s actually being done to help girls in Guyana, especially girls in ICT which is what I specialize in.”

Prime Minister for a day

Aspiring Lawyer and Politician, Delecia George, started her day as Prime Minister for a day with a formal briefing with the advisory staff at the Office of the Prime Minister.

During her meeting with Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo, the opportunity was taken to raise concerns relating to equal opportunities for women in the workplace.

She told the Prime Minister that, “my encouragement to girls, especially to girls in celebration of International Day of the Girl Child, is to seek development and become more than just normal, try as much to seek professional development and to pierce the unacknowledged barrier to elevation in any profession.”

Explaining how she has been inspired and anticipates a position in leadership, George not that “women do have the potential to hold high positions in government and in any organisation. With the professional development and determination, they can have this opportunity.”

Canadian High Commissioner for a day

Canadian High Commissioner for a day, Sara Mohan, joined the President and Prime Minister for a series of courtesy calls and meetings. She expressed her ambition of becoming a diplomat, with the intent of sharing what Guyana has to offer the world.

“I would have seen the first lady in action, I saw the Canadian high commissioner, Ms. Lilian Chatterjee, in action and they are phenomenal. So, why not…” she said.

The young ladies also had the opportunity to address the Cabinet, meet with Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Barton Scotland and take advantage of photo opportunities with President Granger, Prime Minister Nagamootoo, the Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Lilian Chatterjee as well as the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mikiko Tanaka.

On October 10, 2017, both the Prime Minister and the High Commissioner shared their offices with two young women, Martina Nedd and SherryAnna Balkaran as part of the global advocacy to show that girls and young women could hold key decision-making positions.

Also, Director for the Department of Public Information, on July 20, 2018, gave up his office for the day to Devika Ramjaram to lead the agency’s operations as Guyana continues to recognise women and girls.

Delicia Haynes.

Images: Jameel Mohamed.