One hundred and sixty-one youth from Region Ten have benefitted from a stimulus package facilitated under the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Flagship Youth initiative– the Hinterland Employment Youth Service (HEYS) Programme.
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 161 participants to receive the grant currently have businesses operating and will each receive $50,000. That totals just over $8 million to further boost their respective business ventures.
Minister Allicock commended the youth for staying the course. 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 of people with lumber here use the opportunity to turn them into valuable pieces for sale,” the Minister challenged.
Amidst loud applause the 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 Programme has left on her life, Sheniza Singh, of Three Friends said, “Life since HEYS has been good for me because I learn a lot from the training. The money I will be getting, I will use that to help expand my business.
“I would like to thank our President and the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs for bringing the HEYS 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 HEYS for the opportunity. Thanks to Dexter (NDC Chair Dexter Harding) for helping us in our community by 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, a participant from Siberia/Old England stated, “Life before HEYS was very hard. I would depend on my mother who is a single parent to take care of me.
“ I was very frustrated many days. Then HEYS came to my community and I was very lucky to be a part of the programme. 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 fudgsicle, 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 housewives. 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 said, “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 come 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, challenged the youth to make the most of the opportunity afforded.
Mayor of Linden Waneka Harding noted how privileged she is to see the camaraderie 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, Orrin 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, HEYS has moved from a Programme 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 snackettes, grocery shops, poultry, car wash, ice cream shop, Beauty Salon and Supplies, game shop, DVD, stationer and cell phone accessories, mobile shop, welding and joiner, fuel and farming.
The HEYS programme 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.
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