Over 700 young entrepreneurs created under HEYS
DPI, Guyana, Thursday, January 25, 2018
The indigenous populace can now boast 766 young entrepreneurs, following the successful implementation of the government’s Hinterland Employment and Youth Service (HEYS) initiative.
HEYS, which is currently in its second stage, is a flagship programme geared at empowering some 4,000 Indigenous youths in 212 hinterland communities.
Speaking with the Department of Public Information (DPI), Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Valerie Garrido-Lowe explained that the ministry has recruited five (5) monitors, who have the responsibility to observe and evaluate businesses created under the programme; four monitors are posted in Regions One, Seven, Eight and Nine, and one (1) in coastal villages.
“…So far, they are 766 business and they haven’t finished yet, they are still going around. They have met with the people and they (the young people) are very excited. They thought that after the grant and after the facilitators stop teaching them, that the ministry would forget about them but that is not so. We have been out in the fields, our HEYS staff have travelled up the mountains and down rivers to get to these communities and let them know that the ministry is here to support them.”
The programme also serves as a startup for youths to pursue their dreams. Several have opted to further their education at a higher institute of learning, some have joined the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), whilst others enrolled in nursing among other training programmes.
“…So, what they are doing is that while they go off to their training and so on, they are actually leaving their businesses in the hands of their families, to help to sustain them while they pursue their dreams,” the minister further explained.
While the programme is a tremendous success, Minister Garrido-Lowe pointed out that it has had its fair share of challenges. “One has to take into consideration that HEYS is a huge programme. Right now, this second cohort covers 108 villages and we have even villages on the coast like Swan, Linden, Kwakwani and Three Friends…We don’t want anyone to be left out, for instance in Red Creek (Region Eight) that village really needed attention, you have young people who could not even write their names and so we sought to work with them.”
Launched in October 2015, the HEYS project prepares youths for leadership roles in their communities. These youths are trained and certified in areas such as garment construction, carpentry, joinery, and entrepreneurship. The programme entails six months of classroom training and six months of practical training. Participants also benefit from a stipend (part of which will be saved on a monthly basis) as well as business mentoring.
By: Synieka Thorne