50 women-owned businesses showcased at WE LIFT Essequibo

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The first-ever WE LIFT Essequibo, at the Anna Regina Town Council on Wednesday
received overwhelming support from the Cinderella County’s residents.

The initiative, a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Human Services and
Social Security and the Regional Gender Affairs Committee of Region Two
showcased over 50 of the county’s most promising female-owned businesses.

Minister of Human Services, Dr. Vindhya Persaud officially launched
the event by showering praises on the women for their innovations and
contributions towards the development of the country.

Minister Persaud urged them not to confine themselves in boxes but rather push
to achieve anything they set their minds on, as she reiterated the various
opportunities the Ministry is providing for citizens including its WIIN training
programme.

Minister Persaud went on to reflect on discussions that suggested that the
objective of world gender equality would not be achieved in 2030 and would not
be achieved for another 700 years. However, Minister Persaud reckoned that she
would like to see this become a reality as soon as possible, in Guyana with the
Ministry providing extensive training in the areas of shared responsibilities,
empowerment, technical vocational skills and other areas relating to gender
equality.

Minister Persaud said, “To achieve gender equality it starts with every person
understanding that there is space for each person, there is a place for every voice
and there is an openness for every contribution big or small…The Ministry of
Human Services is passionate about the support we give to women and men, this
event is called WE LIFT and has come to Region Two not by coincidence but by
design, in collaboration with the RGAC of Region Two…If you lift someone up you
elevate them beyond barriers, limitations and everything that can prevent them
from everything they can be, WE LIFT stands for ‘Women Empowering Leading
Innovating and Flourishing Together.”

The event also saw patrons enjoyed an Indian dance presentation by Lalita Saytoo
along with musical renditions by Joan Henry, Wendell Walcott and Jonica Walcott.

The audience moved and sang along as the Regional Men’s Group performed an
acrostic, using every letter of the word ‘woman’ to describe what a woman means
to them. Inspirational messages were shared by Poonwattie Jaigobin and Vanessa
Butters.

Mayor of Anna Regina, Rajendra Prabhulall expressed his delight for the works
Minister Persaud and her Ministry has been doing to aid in the development of
Essequibo.

“This is great, a lot of women owned businesses came out, lots of excitement in
the commercial sphere, this is truly fantastic in helping women with their business
and empower them so they can be their own bosses, I am very happy for this and
I commend the effort of Minister Persaud, she has been doing really well and the
next time I am sure it would be bigger,” the Mayor said.

Qurian Spellen, who operates the only female-owned gym in Essequibo, Qurian
Body Beautiful Gym,’ already serves approximately 50 females but noted that the
event provided her a platform to network more and engage a lot of people who
were not aware of her gym and their tailored programmes for women.

Swetlana Kingston, proprietor of Aunty Otia’s creation explained that it is
initiatives like these that help women in business to explore and engage others to
grow their business further. Kingston operated in a male-dominated environment
from her schooling where she was the only female in the Technology stream
before working for 14 years at a power company where she again was the only
female.

“it was a really wonderful initiative from the Ministry of Human Service and I trust
that this will be an annual event that can grow larger in the years to come,”
Kingston said.

Korishma Jaigobin said, “it has been really great initiative to see women can
support women especially to see the Minister being here, it shows that we are
capable of doing anything, I was overwhelmed to see so many strong and
inspiring women across the coastline.”

Caption: Minister of Human Services, Dr. Vindhya Persaud engages with some of
the female owned businesses on display