Former Guyana minister promotes Broomes Foundation in Brooklyn

Former Guyana Minister Simona Broomes at a fund raising gala in Brooklyn, New York for her Broomes Foundation.
Former Guyana Minister Simona Broomes at a fund raising gala in Brooklyn, New York for her Broomes Foundation.
Photo by Kawise Wishart

Former Guyana Minister Simona Broomes on Oct. 8 held an exclusive Q&A Networking session at 1956 Utica Avenue in Brooklyn in promoting her foundation, Broomes Foundation.

In 2017, the Broomes Foundation was formed as a family initiative to keep their social responsibilities foremost.

The motto of the foundation is “Building a bridge to equality for the marginalized and misrepresented.

The Broomes Foundation is a non-governmental, non-profit entity tackling major issues such as poverty, human trafficking, education, youth development and environmental protection.

“Environmental protection became another passionate topic of Broomes following successful completion of the Harvard Executive Course on Climate Change,” Broomes said. “The Broomes Foundation initiatives now undertaken cannot be quantified.”

Broomes has been recognized and honored by numerous groups and entities around the world for unmatched empathy, passion and powerful actions.

She was acknowledged by the Women of Mission International, and recognized with a citation from a New York Senator for empowering women and girls through her activism.

More recently, Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake presented Broomes a general assembly citation on behalf of the citizens of the 34th New Jersey Legislative District.

In 2018, she received the Sydney Allicock Global Humanitarian Award for her humanitarian efforts.

Amb. Clyde Rivers, founder and President of iChange Nations (ICN), was so impressed by her work and her unremitting dedication to the disadvantaged and dispossessed that he bestowed upon her The Global Peace Award, the organization’s highest global award.

Similarly, in acknowledgment of a life lived in the service of humanity, Broomes was conferred an Honorary Doctorate in Society and Human Rights on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Simona Broomes is the personification of Martin Carter’s lines, “I sleep not to dream, I dream to change the world.”

Broomes said she has always dreamt to change the circumstances of vulnerable people.

Broomes is described as “a lady amongst women, a champion for justice and an advocate for humanity.”

She was born and raised in Bartica, Guyana as the last of 16 children.

She is the proud mother of three and a doting grandmother. More truly, however, she is a mother to hundreds.

As a successful and respected miner with an impressive operation, Broomes was first a trailblazer for other women in the extractive industry.

Her entry into politics began during the time of Hugh Desmond Hoyte, the late president and leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNC/R) in Guyana.

Broomes joined the Regional Democratic Council in Region 7 and became a champion for small-scale miners in Guyana; she founded and chaired the Omai Small Mining Committee.

Following the attempts of the new government to demolish small-scale miners, she led a shutdown in Bartica that earned her a membership on the Special Land Use Committee (SLUC).

Broomes was successful in touching the lives of people and earning an epithet “heroine.”

However, it was not until she founded the Guyana Women Miners Organization in 2012 that she truly epitomized that epithet.

Frequenting the hinterlands, and witnessing the discrimination and abuse of women, and human trafficking of young girls and boys, Broomes determined to expose these atrocities in the hidden parts of Guyana.

After 25 years as a miner, she established the Guyana Women Miners Organization (GWMO), a volunteer membership and advocacy organization with two main objectives: To empower women miners and address the economic discrimination and physical intimidation and abuse that they encountered; and to eradicate trafficking in persons, thereby protecting those vulnerable.

GWMO was the first organization of its kind comprising miners advocating on a cross-section of social and economic issues.

Broomes said she worked relentlessly to engage the government, the international community and the media to raise public awareness of human trafficking in Guyana, identify traffickers, promote the establishment of shelters in remote mining communities for victim care, improve law enforcement, and increase job training for women in mining.

During that time, Broomes overcame being targeted by the authorities, ostracized by misleading publications and even physical assault.

Revered as one of Guyana’s national heroine, with an international reach, Broomes has worked with the United Nations, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the United States, Canadian and British Governments.

She became a member of the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Gender Equality Group in 2012 and continued her phenomenal work after becoming a member of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

This pioneer established the first home for trafficked girls in Guyana, with the aid of the Mercy’s Sisters and the Catholic Church.

Consequently, her exceptional humanitarian efforts were so dynamic that the US State Department celebrated her with its prestigious TIP Hero Award in 2013. This was presented to her by John Kerry, then US Secretary of State.

Broomes soon realized that, for positive change to occur and last, it needed to be institutionalized. So, she campaigned with A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Coalition in 2015 at the national elections.

Her party was elected to serve the people, and she was appointed Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection.

Broomes said she was appointed to a position in which she could directly implement the necessary changes “to amputate injustices wrought on the vulnerable people in Guyana.”

She would have been able to champion those who felt helpless and hopeless.

In six months, Broomes achieved what the previous government had not in 20-odd years of governance.

She instructed the payout of GUY$111 million to more than 1,000 unrepresented workers.

Under the APNU/AFC administration, Broomes also served as Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment and Minister within the Ministry of the Presidency.