One hundred and sixty one youth from Region 10 have benefitted from a stimulus package facilitated under the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Flagship Youth initiative the Hinterland Employment Youth Service HEYS Program.
The Stimulus package was launched at the Coomacka Resource Center in the Mining town of Linden by Vice President and Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Sydney Allicock and other Regional Representatives on Friday.
The one hundred and sixty one participants to receive the grant currently have businesses operating and will each receive fifty thousand dollars which totals eight million and fifty thousand dollars to further boost their respective business ventures.
A section of the Hinterland Employment Youth Service participants attending the stimulus package launch in Coomacka Mines, Linden, Region 10.
Addressing participants Minister Allicock commended the youth for staying the course and their testimonies he said were a true reflection of their achievements.
“This movement is about educating and respecting one another…it is an incentive enough to move you forward into your dreams and I would like you can use this opportunities to create new products, new activities, like your chicken farms, fish farms, plant purple potato and other nutritious crops, use pieces of lumber a lot pf people with lumber here use the opportunity to turn them into valuable pieces for sale” the Minister challenged.
Amidst loud applause he minister encouraged them to “make full and good use of it, don’t fight against one other, fight for one another, don’t bad talk one another, good talk one another, let us operate as mature people let us work out our differences”.
Testifying on the positive impact the HEYS Program has left on her life, Sheniza Singh of Three Friends said “life since HEYS has been good for me cuz I learn a lot from the training. The money I will be getting I will use that to help expand my business and I would like to thank our President and the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs for bringing the HEY to our community and would like HEYS to come back so that other youths can benefit”
De Andrae Daniels of Coomacka Mines said “I would like to thank the HEY for the opportunity…thanks Dexter (NDC Chair Dexter Harding) for helping us in our community directing us showing us the way how we must go forward with our business…I will continue and would like HEYS to comeback for the benefit of my community”.
Kelly Blunt participant from Siberia/Old England in stated that “life before HEYS very hard I use to depend on my mother who is a single parent to take care of me. I used to very frustrated many days and then HEYS came to my community and I was very lucky to be a part of the program.. I am now my own boss. I started with ice cream and cone, I saved my stipend to buy my freezer and my scoop, and I saved my stipend again to buy other stuff fudgesicle, popsicle. I still suffer from seizures but my life is easy now”.
Arrieana Hosea and twin sister Annia Hosea of Kairuni operate a grocery story.
Arrieana said “me and my partner have a grocery and provision shop. Before HEYS came both of us were house wives and we never know nothing about business we use to depend on our husband for income. When HEYS step in, it was a great opportunity and it bring a change for both of us .. life is now easy .. HEYS been a great help in our lives ,.. help in a financial, material and mental way”.
Jeniffer Bristol of 47 Miles noted that “I use to work in the mining area I have six children and my children father is nowhere around. I am thankful to HEYS to coming to our community. I started selling vegetables which I grew myself and today I am able to do vegetables and groceries. I would like to thank Minister Garrido-Lowe and all the people who put a special effort to make HEYS a success”.
Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Samantha Fedee in brief remarks challenged the youth to make the most of the opportunity afforded.
After listening to the testimonies, Mayor of Linden Waneka Harding noted how privileged she is to see the comradery demonstrated by the respective communities. She commended them for remaining in their communities and for playing an integral role in its development.
Regional Executive Officer Orin Gordon noted that the exercise is a manifestation of a promise made to the youth of linden for further development and based on observation and statistics, the HEYS has moved from a Program to a Movement, an irreversible Movement”.
He said he is “pretty impressed with the results” and the approach will have long lasting benefits.
HEYS Businesses in the Region range from snackets, grocery shops, poultry, car wash, ice cream shop, Beauty Salon & Supplies, game shop, DVD, stationer and cell phone accessories, mobile shop, welding and joiner, fuel and farming.
The HEYS program continues to positively change the lives of the youth across the hinterland and by doing so is ensuring the delivery of the ‘Good Life’ promised.