Teen migrant students benefit from Gender–Responsive School Welfare Mentoring programme



The Ministry of Education School Support Services, Migrant Education Support Unit in collaboration with the Schools Welfare Unit, recently engaged teenagers in a three-week “Gender–Responsive School Welfare Mentoring program for teenage migrant students.”

This initiative was funded by the Canadian Government, through their project partner, UNICEF and the project was implemented by the Ministry of Education in two phases.

According to Ms. Rampattie Bisnauth, Coordinator of the Migrant Education Support Unit, Phase One was done during the August holiday as the “Big Sister mentoring program” which benefited approximately 100 teenagers. Phase Two, which was launched on October 9th and ended on October 26th, provided psychosocial support to a total of 160 teenage girls and boys.

Mrs. Bisnauth explained that the second phase of the project had a three-week work plan. This plan focused on addressing various topics such as self-esteem, self-worth, self-motivation, self-identity, bullying, hate speech, violence, racism, depression, anxiety, and culture shock. This program was hosted at three venues as an after–school initiative, Diamond Primary, Leonora Secondary School and the New Campbellville Secondary schools with each venue having a team leader supported by eight team members. The Diamond Primary team leader was Mr. Akash Persaud, Senior Guidance and Counselling Officer in Region 4; the team leader at the Leonora Secondary School in Region Three was Ms. Bernice Zephyr Senior Guidance and Counselling Officer and the team leader at the New Campbellville Secondary School was Ms. Onika King Senior Guidance and Counselling Officer.

The secondary schools that participated in the initiative were the Leonora Secondary School, the DeWillem Secondary School, Diamond Primary School, IPE Secondary School, Friendship Secondary School, Dolphin Secondary School, Covent Garden Secondary School, New Campbellville Secondary School, Kingston Secondary School, Freeburg Secondary School and the Queenstown Secondary School.

Ms. Renita Barnes, Senior Education Officer stated that this initiative shows the Ministry of Education’s commitment to provide equitable and inclusive education for students regardless of their race, gender, socioeconomic status, or nationality. She also praised the participants for their unwavering commitment to the program and applauded their creativity, which was truly inspiring.

Ms. Fiona Persaud, Education Specialist at UNICEF, during her presentation, noted that UNICEF’s vision is for every child, regardless of gender, ethnicity, ability, or nationality with the focus on ensuring inclusive and equitable access to education for every child in Guyana. Through the mentorship and counselling program, each child had the opportunity to learn new skills that would make them more resilient and build their confidence.

Ms. Persaud expressed that UNICEF remains committed to working with the Government of Guyana to ensure that Sustainable Development Goal 4- quality education- is accessible and available to every child in Guyana.

Mr. Tariq Williams, Senior International Assistance Officer, from the High Commission of Canada to Guyana and Suriname office was also present at Thursday’s event.

A certificate ceremony was held at the Queen’s College auditorium on Thursday, October 26th, where each participant received a certificate for completing the three weeks Gender–Responsive School Welfare Mentoring program.