On February 6, 2020, 25 girls and
young women graduated from the one-year Comprehensive Empowerment Programme for
Adolescent Mothers (CEPAM) which was organized by Women Across Differences
(WAD) at Baridi Benab, State House.
Speaking at the event, First Lady Mrs. Sandra Granger, who serves as a patron of the WAD encouraged the young women to capitalise on every available educational opportunity as they are the future leaders of Guyana.
“You are the next leaders of our country and I would like to encourage you to seize every opportunity [that] you are offered to educate yourselves [and] to take your rightful place in society,” Mrs. Granger said.
The CEPAM programme aims to build the self-esteem and self-worth of teen mothers through education and empowerment. It is an initiative organised by Women Across Differences (WAD) in partnership with Republic Bank (Guyana) Limited (RBL).
During the year-long programme, participants are given psychosocial support, while being taught entrepreneurship skills, academics, family planning and other subject areas.
The First Lady noted that many of the
graduates of the programme and members of WAD have moved on to become success
Meanwhile, Coordinator of WAD, Mrs. Clonel Samuels-Boston, in her address noted that the feedback and impact of the programme has been overwhelming. Since its commencement in 2009, a total of 545 adolescent mothers have benefited. She urged the young women to stay focused and to utilize the knowledge they would have gained for their own self development.
“The future ahead looks promising, not only for the programme but also for the adolescence mothers… I challenge you to stay focused, keep the positives and discard the negatives… Remember that there are always solutions for everything,” she said.
Additionally, RBL’s Marketing and Communications Manager, Mrs. Jonelle Dumette, emphasized her bank’s commitment to continued partnership with WAD in pursuit of the empowerment of girls and young women. She noted that the initiative will ensure that the participants have access to social and economic resources and life skills.
“We, at Republic Bank, are firmly committed to the development and empowerment of women…Be assured that Republic Bank Guyana Limited will continue in support of this group even as we look at ways in which we can expand our support,” she said.
Representatives of the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) Mr. Irfan Akhtar and Ms. Jewel Crosse; Secretary-General of the National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Ms. Patrice La Fleur, representatives of the Peace Corps, Ms. Yefi Oshodi and Ms. Lucy Cumberbatch and the Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Social Protection, Mr. Mohan Ramrattan also attended.