The Hinterland Employment and Youth Service (HEYS) programme has served as a stepping stone for many of its participants. This is currently the case of participants of Kumu Village, Region Nine, some of whom are now entrepreneurs.
Some of the HEYS participants in their grocery shop having a discussion
This was revealed by Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Valerie Garrido-Lowe who recently visited the village.
Using the skills acquired and $120,000 saved through the HEYS programme with an added $50,000 grant, Minister Garrido-Lowe highlighted that the participants were able to establish their own businesses.
“One young man has a grocery store and three other girls, they have grocery stores with some added other items. Then you have three of them went into catering business- happy girls catering, and the fuel outlet, two boys went into establishing a fuel outlet, and every day they get business because people from Lethem go to Kumu and purchase gas from them,” the Minister explained.
Some of the HEYS participants displaying their items that are for sale
Based on the training on how to manage a business, the Minister said that she was able to see record keeping by the participants detailing their daily sales and profit. The Minister said she was delighted to know that the HEYS programme is creating entrepreneurs, which is its aim.
“They have ventured into creating employment for themselves instead of sitting on the sidelines wondering what to do, wondering what the government can do for them… or just staying there because you cannot say they do not have dreams because they have dreams, but there was no way of making those dreams become a reality,” Minister Garrido-Lowe stated.
One year after it was launched in 112 indigenous communities, Minister Garrido-Lowe said that she was happy with the results coming from the HEYS programme. The Minister stressed that, “We are seeing results already and this is what we want because jobs are lacking in the hinterland…. It looks like it is a success. In between you must have one and two kinks but those can be ironed out, but you have some real success stories.”
The HEYS programme is expected to conclude next month and is scheduled to recommence no later than July. The sum of $991 million was allocated for the programme in the 2017 budget to facilitate the participation of residents of the remaining 100 communities.