Parents of Six making waves in Mabaruma

― HEYS on the move.

Cleveland Joseph and Marissia Santiago are among the many participants of the Hinterland Employment Youth Service HEYS Programme, making waves in the Mabaruma sub-district, Barima/Waini, Region One.

During a recent visit to the region by Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Valerie Garrido-Lowe and her team, the couple excitedly shared their experiences gained from the HEYS initiative.

The parents of six children, collectively invested in what they deem an activity that we truly love – Agriculture and are moving towards large scale agriculture production.

Joseph noted following the HEYS programme he realised that not only could he be active in an endeavour he enjoyed but could also earn a living from it. He also commended the HEYS program, noting that he was able to gain tremendous knowledge through participation, the reason for him calling on the Government to “let this program continue”.

His partner Marissia Santiago said she also gained a fair share of knowledge through the programme and now assists him with manage the venture.

Turning his attention to some of the produce the couple cultivates on their nearly two-acre plot of land, Cleveland said “I plant bitter cassava, sweet cassava, coffee …we have the seed and what we parch, and grind is used to make tea done. It tastes nice and we are already selling. Plus, we got we coconut trees, banana, plantain, pepper, pine, pear, lime”.

The couple has used their profits from sales of their farm produce at the Kumaka Market to improve their standard of living.

They will also be among other HEYS participants who will receive a fifty-thousand-dollar grant ($100,000 between the two of them) to further boost their business.

Close to 4,000 youths from across the hinterland were given the opportunity through empowerment initiatives to positively change the direction of their lives and already, this commitment is beginning to bear fruit.

The Ministry has been paying special attention to its Flagship Youth Programme which continues to positively impact the lives of the indigenous youth with an investment of approximately $2.3Billion since its commencement in 2015.

Businesses established by the youth under the HEYS Programme range from the raring of cattle, poultry, pigs, (Broilers, Layers and Ducks), Crops & Vegetable Farming, Honey Production, the establishment of hardware stores, floating grocery stores among others.

In 2019, participants with existing businesses will receive an additional grant of fifty thousand dollars each, to boost their respective businesses ventures.

Alethea Grant.

Communications Officer.

Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs.


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