Georgetown, Guyana – (August 6, 2016) First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, today, said that she is encouraged by the interest that the Lego Robotics Building and Programming Workshop has generated in young people and she expressed hope that the “seamless” collaboration that facilitated the sessions can be expanded to benefit more young people in communities across the country.
The First Lady expressed this view at the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Guyana Graduation Ceremony, which was hosted at the National Sports Resource Centre on Woolford Avenue.
One hundred and forty students from Georgetown, Buxton/Friendship and Lusignan-Good Hope graduated from the programme, which was hosted under the auspices of the Office of the First Lady. This number 18 volunteers, who have been taught as trainers to start STEM Clubs in Guyana.
Mrs. Granger expressed gratitude to the Co-ordinator of the workshop, Ms. Karen Abrams and her children, Ima, Asha, Caleb and Joshua Christian for undertaking this task. The First Lady said in October 2015, when Ms. Abrams first expressed an interest in offering to train youth in Guyana in computer code and robotics she was excited about the possibilities that it would open to them.
“I appreciate the value of the knowledge that has been passed on over the past three weeks, both to the volunteer trainers and to the youthful participants in these workshops. More than the transfer of knowledge and know-how, I have been struck by the excitement and interest that have generated in the minds of our young people, their parents, and among enlightened persons in the field of education and members of the corporate community,” the First Lady said.
Mrs. Granger also said that she was heartened by the response of Guyanese, both here and in the diaspora, and in the public and private corporate community, who provided funds and other resources to facilitate the workshops.
“I believe that our young people now understand that there is much more to information and communication technologies than email [and other social media platforms]…for they have now dipped their metaphorical toes in robotics… Robotics not only opens to us the possibilities for entertainment but expands our horizons for professional growth and development, hitting all the bases in STEM… It provides new avenues for learning beyond the traditional classroom… It encourages our children to use their minds, their intuitive logic, to solve problems while also on occasion, underlining the benefits of team work,” the First Lady said.
Meanwhile, Ms. Carolynne Moore, who spoke on behalf of one of the sponsors, the Guyana Action Committee (GAC), a non-profit organisation based in the United States (US), said her organisation focuses on helping youths to develop holistically. As such, when Ms. Abrams made a request for assistance to purchase robots for the STEM camp here, the GAC responded immediately. Ms. Moore is also one of the many individual sponsors of Team STEM Guyana based in the US.
In giving the Vote of Thanks, Mr. Colin Sawh, who is one of the oldest participants in the workshop, expressed gratitude to the First Lady and Ms. Abrams and her family for hosting the programme. “I want to assure you that what I have seen at the camps … this will not be the last… I want to encourage all [the participants] to keep apace with the [training], he said.
Mr. Sawh said he was particularly pleased that children from far-flung communities and depressed communities were invited to participate and pledged to take the knowledge that he has gained to youth clubs in Tiger Bay and other South Georgetown areas where he volunteers.
Sixteen donors and sponsors, both local and overseas-based supported and facilitated the workshop.