Guyana’s first lady focuses on youth, elderly, women

First Lady of Guyana, Mrs. Sandra Granger, said she would like to convey sincere thanks to Ismay Griffith, and the network of Guyanese women in New York for the financial support that enabled her to conduct elderly training workshops and other initiatives after returning to Guyana in September from her first visit as first lady.

“I would like to thank the women of New York for their kind contribution, I hope to conduct other workshops to engage women of Guyana,” said Mrs. Granger.

The office of First Lady just concluded ‘Care for the Elderly” training workshop in partnership with the Ministry of Social Protection, educated caregivers on the needs of seniors, while helping them to understand their responsibilities in providing excellent care to the seniors.

As part of her many other initiatives, scores of students now attend the Buxton Youth Development Project remedial pilot program in the historic East Coast Village. Granger launched the program last September to focus on slow learners, as well as high achievers.

The first lady told Caribbean Life during an exclusive interview in her Georgetown office recently, that 170 pupils from Grades 1 to 6, as well as second year nursery school pupils would benefit from the program, requested by parents.

She thanked Friendship Primary School Headmistress Mrs. Day for donating the space in a joint effort with the Buxton / Friendship and Company Road primary schools to continue academic performance, and improvement in learning.

Information and Communication Technology, Sexual and Reproductive Health, as well as preparation for the workforce, dress code, and discipline, are some of the classes being taught.

“Young people seem were very happy with the program. I made a spot visit in October and went through the back door and noticed that the entire classroom of students was very attentive,” said Mrs. Granger, adding, that was very heartwarming.

The community effort of clergy, youth groups, residents and educators ensures the students attendance the program, by providing transportation to classes. A meal is also served before each instruction.

Granger hopes that residents in the village — that historically produced scholars — play a vital role to ensure their children grasp the opportunity to learn during the three-day weekly, two-hour after-school program.

Contingent on the success of this pilot program, Granger said other communities would be included for similar sustained education.

Granger, who quipped that she has ‘several pots on the fire,’ added that data shows once women advance in life, so does the entire family, and as such, she hosted a workshop on self-reliance and success in business for women in Good Hope / Luisgnan, on the East Coast of Demerara.

At the end of the workshop the women outlined their long-term business goals, in addition to creating a project to tackle the problem of solid waste that is a sticking point in their communities.

A vibrant member of the CARICOM First Ladies Roundtable, Granger has also created an intergenerational initiative that would pair young single mothers with senior citizens in Georgetown in a mentoring and artistic setting so that they could learn from each other.

Granger who of indigenous ancestry, also sees the need of the Toshao Amerindian communities, especially the many school children who go about life barefooted. To this end, she will use a grand to outfit thousands of children with pairs of “the shoe that grows,” an adjustable shoe that expands to five sizes, and looks forward to the shoes being flown to Guyana by Caribbean Airlines.