New Zealand funds Industrial Arts Centre in North Central Rupununi

Toshao Rudolph Roberts and local entertainer Guy Marco inaugurating the building on June 28.


Toshao Rudolph Roberts and local entertainer Guy Marco inaugurating the building on June 28.
Toshao Rudolph Roberts and local entertainer Guy Marco inaugurating the building on June 28.

[] – A new Industrial Arts Centre focused on carpentry and joinery skills was recently handed over by the New Zealand High Commission Head of Mission Fund (HOMF), to the community of Yupukari in North Central Rupununi.

According to a press release from HOMF, the new Industrial Arts Centre boasts a renovated building, new additional wood storage facility and generator house with electrical power tools imported from the USA, as well as other necessary equipment, tools and accessories that will allow the centre to operate efficiently and competitively with other professional carpentry enterprises in the region.

The release noted that the Centre is the second of its kind in the Rupununi, also funded by HOMF and easily accessible to Lethem, where construction activity is booming since the opening of the Takutu Bridge between Brazil and Guyana.

“The community of Yupukari is aware of their unique opportunity to tap into the growing market for the products and services they have the potential to provide, but had been constrained by the limitations of their existing facility.

Exterior of the new Industrial Arts Centre
Exterior of the new Industrial Arts Centre

“This project builds on the success of a previous ‘Industrial Arts’ center operating in the village from 2005. The center in Yupukari had been a popular and successful operating unit, making furniture for the local community and village nature lodge,” the release stated.

Toshao Rudolph Roberts Sr. described Yupukari as a progressive community that is always looking for development opportunities that would benefit its members.

“The goal of the project is to try and stop our young people leaving our community,” he said.

“The new Centre will provide high quality vocational training and income generation opportunities, but also allow them to participate, and contribute to the development of their own community”.

Michael Martin, the Project Coordinator explained that the community successfully coordinated this project between several other ongoing initiatives and should feel proud of the achievement.

Cecil Mandook and Combrencent Ernest were two senior project team members who were involved in all aspects of project design, construction, and equipment selection. Both are excited by the challenge of operating the centre.

“This center allows us to create our own opportunities with the skills we already hold. We could win a contract for supplying school furniture for our community and the other ones near us. We can prove that we are better than other professional businesses,” said Combrencent.

Deputy Toshao, Brian Duncan, concluded, “We hope that this initiative will be an example for other community developments in the future, local skill paired with the correct level of technical support is essential for communities to complete and manage these programs in a sustainable way.”



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