Ninety two participants of the Hinterland Employment Youth Service HEYS Program have received fifty thousand dollars each to boost their respective business ventures across indigenous villages in Pomeroon-Supenaam, Region 2.
This amounts to a fruitful investment of $4.6M.
The young and promising entrepreneurs received their grants on Wednesday and Thursday last on the side lines of the “Government Comes to You” outreach in the Region.
Toshao’s attending the exercise noted with great satisfaction the positive impact the program continues to have on the lives of the Regions youth people.
David Wilson Toshao from Akawini Village said he is confident that the youth from his village will be able to supply furniture to schools across the Region, since the HEYS Program has imparted this among other skills to his young people.
“I am here with the REO to ask for a little mini contract so that they can supply furnitures to the schools and other community buildings and so once they get this the youth they are cleaver enough because we know some of them were in the field of joinery and once they get the petty contract I am sure they will be able to supply the schools in Pomeroon so they would not have to come till to Essequibo coast to get those furniture”.
Toshao Howard Cornelius from Wakapoa said “HEYS has brought a big difference in my community especially in the lives of these young people…I personally have been encouraging them, meeting with their families to really get on board with this program….and I guarantee you Minister I as the Toshao I would be working along with the HEYS students”.
Aubrey Fredericks Toshao of Capoey Village said the impact the program is having in his village is commendable since “people are bringing in cooking gas for sale for the first time in our village and that is very good to me. There is also talk about bringing in other stuff like motor cycle parts like the bearings, the tube and such things and of course the residents will have better access to these things because before you would have to come to Anna Regina to buy them”.
During their testimonies, the youth explained how they were once dependent on their parents or other family members for financial assistant but once they were part of this youth program, their lives have changed for the better.
Janella Abrams a participant from Bethany Village who has been running a successful snacket said “HEYS helped me to start up my business and provide for my family because I had a sick father and he died, and it’s helping me up to now… and right now I have some snacks here”.
Dan Richards who has been supplying his village of Wakapoa with cement blocks for close to two years said “I have been successful so far me and my brothers, and at least we are employing more young people to come and work with us so far and the lil grant we have now, will come more good for our business so we can employ more young people to work with us”.
Richards also had words of encouragement for his fellow participants.
“I would like to say to the fellow participants that you must press on to the end”.
Desmond Thompson a participant from Bethany recommended “HEYS to be more informative, so that they would not plan on a business that would not exceeds the grant or the finance they would receive…..I think that the Ministry through HEYS can revisit some of these communities and motivate these youths to keep going”.
After listening to profound testimonies from the young people, Vice President and Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Sydney Allicock commended them for persevering.
The Minister told the young people that “you are there as a good example of how others can follow, they don’t have to reinvent the wheel, you were the ones who have tested, made your mistakes, you correct them, you benefitted, some of you just kept on going.”
He added that “our Ministry, the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs is happy to continue to work with you and we are in the process of assessing the situation and your testimonies will help us in planning and I like the young business man who gave advice to us on how we should do things, more information flow more communication will help you to be in the know and better prepared and these are really good suggestions”.
Close to four thousand youth across the hinterland have benefitted and are taking every opportunity the HEYS Program has afforded towards their development.
The Ministry’s Hall Mark Focus, is that of empowering the indigenous people, especially the young people.
These are investments in people, not profits.
Ministers Allicock and Valerie Garrido-Lowe are looking at entering into a third cohort before the end of 2019, which will cater for an additional four thousand youth, bringing the figure of empowered youth close to eight thousand, since 2015.
The “Good Life” promised by President David Granger is being realized.