Thirty adolescent mothers in Region One (Barima – Waini) are now equipped with skills in cookery to gain employment or to become entrepreneurs in the field. This was made possible through the Re-integration of Adolescent Mothers into the Education System programme executed by the Ministry of Education.
The programme was coordinated by the Health and Family Life Education (HFLE) Unit of the Ministry and the Carnegie School of Home Economics. It began on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, and concluded on Friday, July 2, 2021.
Speaking during today’s virtual graduation ceremony, Chief Education Officer, Dr. Marcel Hutson said that following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic which forced the closure of schools across Guyana, the Ministry of Education was cognizant that the education system will lose some students.
He said that, on the guidance of the Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, the Ministry began looking for those students with the view of offering them an opportunity that will positively impact their lives. Dr. Hutson said that re-integrating adolescent mothers into the education system was important since education and training will allow them to enjoy some degree of social mobility.
The CEO extended congratulations to all the students that completed the programme and said that this achievement means that they have placed themselves on the market for employment. He reminded the young women that their life is not determined by its beginnings but by how they take advantage of the opportunities given to advance their development.
According to Dr. Hutson, the programme could not have been possible without properly strategizing. He said that its execution involved the efforts of the Assistant Chief Education Officer (HFLE), Ms. Carol Benn, National HFLE Coordinator, Ms. Colleen King-Cameron, Chief Schools’ Welfare Officer, Ms. Gillian Vyphuis and the Carnegie School of Home Economics through its Principal Ms. Sharmaine Marshall and Ms. Penelope Harris and team.
Dr. Hutson told the 30 mothers that today’s event must serve as a reminder that they are valuable and this achievement must be seen as a testimony that they can be whatever they want to be.
The Regional Chairman of Region One, Mr. Brentnol Ashley applauded the programme and said that it aligns with the vision of the Government of Guyana lead by His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali. He said that the Government has committed to providing opportunities to all Guyanese, especially the young population.
“You are given this opportunity of a second chance to better equip yourself not only for motherhood but to be an instrumental and vital player in the country’s development,” the Regional Chairman told the graduates.
He said that following this programme, he hopes the graduates can be role models in their communities for others to look up to and from whom they can learn.
Principal of the Carnegie School of Home Economics, Ms. Sharmaine Marshall said that the graduates have completed 20 hours of training. She said that the CSHE is honoured to be working in partnership with the Ministry and look forward to future collaboration to positively impact the lives of Guyanese. She told the graduates to be ready to take advantage of the opportunities that will arise and that in whatever they do, stay positive on the promise of a brighter tomorrow.
Three of the graduates, Shivonne Nunes, Suda Thomas and Bibi Khan spoke of their experiences during the programme. They said that it allowed them to sharpen their skills, learn new techniques and make great friends. Each of the 30 graduates received a start-up kit complete with items that will allow them to begin a career in cookery. They also received a care package.
Also present at the ceremony was the Regional Executive Officer of the Region, Teka Bissessar. Chairing today’s ceremony virtually was Deputy Chief Education Officer, (Amerindian and Hinterland Education Development), Mr. Marti DeSouza.