President Ali presents new home to EBD octogenarian

─ 150 similar homes to be constructed next year

President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali on Sunday handed over a newly constructed and furnished home to 85-year-old Meena Bafan at Herstelling, East Bank Demerara, as part of his ‘Men on a Mission’ (MoM) initiative.

President Ali announced too that some 150 homes will be constructed across Guyana, through the MoM initiative in 2023.

His Excellency, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali and 85-year-old Meena Bafan during the handing over ceremony Sunday morning

The construction of Bafan’s home followed a recent outreach by Dr Ali to the community. During that consultation, the president committed to ensuring the elderly woman receives a comfortable and permanent place of abode. 

On December 1, the Guyanese leader led a team of men to demolish the dilapidated house where Bafan lived to make way for construction.

“This is a real testimony as to who we are as a people, when we can come together and work with corporate bodies led by the private sector… And this is what will transform our country,” President Ali posited.  

He said Guyana will see the work of the MoM family expanding significantly next year, explaining that commercial banks and other key players have signalled their interest in financing persons who already have land and are ready to build.

Inside the newly constructed home which was built for 85-year-old Meena Bafan at Herstelling, East Bank Demerara, by the ‘Men on a Mission’ team

“A house like, this we will work to deliver everything for about $5 million to anybody who has their land, and that is because of the direct intervention from the private sector,” the president underscored. 

“This is not a one-off project; it is something that we have initiated and we want it to grow in a very massive way. We will target differently abled people and the elderly as well,” he added.

To further drive this plan, the administration has also crafted a strategy to ramp up the construction labour force.

It intends to go into communities and recruit individuals who might be interested in acquiring a skill. Persons will have the opportunity to undergo training in carpentry, masonry and electrical engineering, among others.

“We are going to launch a massive programme. So, we are hoping that through the Men on a Mission initiative alone, next year we can build at least 150 homes across the country,” the president noted.    

He said too that while the heavy focus will be placed on relocating squatters who already have house lots next year, they will be able to receive assistance from the banking institutions, while the MoM team will lend building support.

The newly constructed home which was built for 85-year-old Meena Bafan at Herstelling, East Bank Demerara, by the ‘Men on a Mission’ team

“Also, one of the things we are looking to do through the Men on a Mission programme, is how we can, in the modern society, build small wooden centres just like these, which children especially in low-income communities, can go and have access to the internet to do their homework, School Based Assessments.”

To this end, the president said talks will advance with GTT, E-networks and Digicel in becoming corporate partners in rolling out the initiative, to ensure members of vulnerable communities access the internet.

Meanwhile, GTT’s Chief Operations Officer of Business and Solutions, Orson Ferguson offered a one-year free fibre service to Bafan, while a team from the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) wired the newly built house.

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