Participants of the Hinterland Employment and Youth Service (HEYS) Programme in Region Nine are committed to empowering themselves despite facing a few hindrances.
Over the weekend, Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Valerie Garrido-Lowe visited Moco Moco, St. Ignatius, Parishara and Nappi in Region Nine to check on the progress of the programme. During the visit, the Minister assured both participants and facilitators that the issues affecting the programme are currently being addressed.
Some of the participants and facilitators of the Hinterland Employment and Youth Service (HEYS) programme with some agricultural tools received from Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Valerie Garrido -Lowe
“I am happy that I was there to explain certain things to them and to encourage them to commit themselves to the programme. I think the response was great,” Minister Garrido-Lowe explained. To the Government Information Agency (GINA).
Among the challenges faced are the lack of adequate tools and payment of stipends to both facilitators and participants. Due to that, the Minister noted that some of the youths have started to become discouraged while others are taking up the opportunity to empower themselves.
“From my visit, what I gathered was very, very encouraging for me because I felt happy about it, that people like the programme… they think that the programme is a great programme,” the Minister said.
In Parishara, Minister Garrido- Lowe pointed out that the youths in that village have already gone ahead and made a number of benches. Even with the lack of adequate tools, the Minister stated, “they went about and borrowed from the villagers who had the tools so that they could start something.”
GINA’s staff was in Region Nine and spoke to a few of the HEYS programme’s participants. Facilitator of the programme, Samuel Fredericks
Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Valerie Garrido- Lowe speaking to the participants and facilitators of the Hinterland Employment and Youth Service (HEYS) programme in Region Nine
said that it was good to see the Minister visiting the youths. “She encouraged the youths to go ahead with the programme, and I think that is very important, encouragement is very important for them,” Samuels stated.
Varna Casiano a participant pointed out that she was happy to have the Minister clear the air on some of the issues facing them me. Casiano explained, “I think the visit the Minister give was very good because we really needed somebody to come in to give us clear information.”
Another facilitator, Derick Primus explained that, “With her presence and talking to her in person, it really encouraged us and reemphasised on certain things, it helped me to see things in a different light.”
The HEYS programme trains youths in areas of garment construction, carpentry, joinery, tourism; auto mechanic and entrepreneurship. They are also taught Mathematics and English Language.
The programme is currently ongoing in 112 hinterland communities. It was developed to positively contribute to improving the lifestyle and living standards for hinterland youths and young adults.