$49.7M injected to help hinterland residents start-up or expand businesses

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

A whopping $49.7M has been injected into several hinterland communities from the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security’s ‘Empowerment Fund.’

The Empowerment Fund is a collaborative effort between the Ministry and World Food Programme (WFP) which seeks to aid potential business owners in expanding or starting up with $50,000 and has seen 995 persons from these communities benefitting to date.

Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) had the largest number of beneficiaries with a whopping 367 across two phases. A total 245 recipients came from Region One (Barima-Waini) in Moraikobai (76), Mabaruma (73), Baramita (72) and Port Kaituma (24).

Meanwhile, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) and Region Nine (Upper Demerara-Upper Berbice) had 192 and 191 recipients respectively.

Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr. Vindhya Persaud said her Ministry has committed to empowering women across the country and we have managed to do so in a very significant way through the collaboration between WFP and the Ministry, utilising the WIIN programme where women have been trained respectively.

“I was very heartened to listen women say they had plans to start their own businesses so the cash grants given were perfect stimuli for them to help in beginning their businesses. We forward to tracking those women to see what improvements they would have made towards their own income and towards helping them to sustain their businesses.”

“In the hinterland where just under 1000 women benefited from this stimulus grant was no insignificant achievement and I will continue to ensure that we have more fruitful partnerships and also directly through the Ministry which focus on women empowerment,” she added.

Project Coordinator, Mahendra Budhram said the Hinterland Regions showed good responses with an inspiring collection rate.

“It is heartwarming to see persons coming out to receive this grant because they can now take the next step of starting to develop themselves and putting the money towards a business that they would have wanted to embark on,” he said.

Among the youngest of recipients was 12-year-old Baramita resident, Ashanna Fredericks who completed the computer studies training where she was proficient in Microsoft Office. With the grant, she explained that she plans to buy a laptop and a printer to open a document center in her community.

Also, Paramakatoi’s Val Ann Edwin, 27, highlighted that she applied for the cosmetology course because there is no existing service of this nature in the community and sees the potential this business has in the remote municipal.

Activist against trafficking in persons, Claudia Fraser who recently returned from Venezuela explained she completed courses in nail technician and hair styling and will look to buy supplies for her business while providing a safe space for women in Port Kaituma.