Sep 23, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – A block-making workshop for several persons within the differently abled community, under the Community-based Employment Stimulation Programme (CESP), was yesterday launched by the Ministry of Housing and Water’s Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism’s Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS).
The opening ceremony for the workshop was held at the Guyana Society for the Blind at High Street, Werk-en-Rust, Georgetown. Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal; Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond; Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues, and Chief Executive Officer of the CH&PA, Mr. Sherwyn Greaves, were all in attendance.
Minister Croal noted that the training will provide a number of economic opportunities and mitigate unemployment levels, even as the COVID-19 pandemic has created more challenges for persons living with disabilities.
“It has exacerbated the inequalities within communities and its impact is devastating to persons with disabilities, those who are unemployed, women and children, the elderly, indigenous and other minorities,” Minister Croal noted. He also highlighted a number of other government initiatives including scholarships under the Guyana Learning Academy.
CESP, which is the brainchild of President Irfaan Ali, was officially launched in early May 2021, to provide economic opportunities for persons living in vulnerable communities. Minister Rodrigues later initiated the expansion of the programme for not only vulnerable communities but also persons in vulnerable groups, with inclusion of the Guyana Council of Organisations for Persons with Disabilities (GCOPD).
“Persons living with disabilities have a unique set of talent and skills to contribute toward the development of our country and towards their own personal upliftment and we want to be able to help them and to provide as many opportunities as possible,” said Minister Rodrigues.
Minister Rodrigues also noted a number of other interventions, which has seen a number of differently abled persons receiving house lots over the past year, and the provision of a plot of land for the construction of a new office for GCOPD.
The training will be done for two days (Wednesday September 22, 2021 and Thursday September 23, 2021) for three hours each day. Some 12 visual impaired persons from the Guyana Society for the Blind and the Ruimveldt Parent Support Group are expected to be trained during this session. The trainees will be educated in the areas of block-making, money management, life skills and job readiness. The CH&PA is also looking to train another 19 persons living with various disabilities in the next month.
The GNBS will be testing the blocks to ensure that they meet the necessary specifications and quality. Minister Walrond stated that her Ministry is pleased to be collaborating on any project that provides employment for small and micro-businesses/organisations and expressed her optimism at GCOPD’s competence and ability to meet quality standards.
An $875,000 block-making shed donated by CH&PA was also commissioned at the opening ceremony and a quantity of equipment handed over including wheelbarrows and spades. Programme Coordinator of GCOPD, Mr. Ganesh Singh, expressed his gratitude for the opportunity, which he also noted will significantly improve their livelihood, as persons within the community encounter many challenges.
All blocks produced through the CESP programme are expected to supply contractors under CH&PA’s housing programmes, as the demand for construction materials increases. The project will run from 2021-2025 at an estimated cost of $20 million; however, $3.9 million has been allotted to pilot the project in 2021.
According to the GNBS in a release, the small entrepreneurs will learn about the requirements of the National Standard for concrete hollow blocks, the technique for block-making and GNBS’ testing and certification programmes for the product.
The objective of the training is to ensure that locally manufactured concrete hollow blocks are conforming to the requirements of the Guyana Standard Specification for Load Bearing masonry Concrete units (GYS 215:2003). Once certified by the GNBS, the concrete hollow blocks manufactured by the block makers will be used by the CH&PA to construct several houses at Diamond, East Bank Demerara (EBD).
To ensure consistency, the GNBS Certificate is valid for one year during which there are surveillance inspections. If manufacturers consistently meet the requirements of the standard, their products will be recertified.
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