“I will continue to stand strong” – industrious HEYS entrepreneur
Adela Robertson, a young and industrious resident of Aishalton, Deep South Rupununi, Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), continues to defy the odds.
Adela operates a thriving snackette including lunch specials (she bakes her own pastries) and also sells a variety of agricultural produce in her village, which was established through the Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Ministry’s Youth initiative, the Hinterland Employment Youth Service (HEYS) Programme.
Speaking of the steady progress she’s experienced over the past nine months, the 29-year-old businesswoman said “I continue my entrepreneur with the $50,000 grant booster, I also employ somebody to roast every evening for me and I’m glad that I’m trying and I will continue to stand strong.”
While she credited the success of her business to the support she continues to receive from villagers, Adela praised her parents for standing by her side through the difficult times.
She noted that “my mother and father always tell me to stand strong and to get my business bigger and greater and to employ youths as I plan to in the future. I can also help youths that need help or advice and I’m now twenty-nine years of age, single, without a boyfriend and no children and I will do my best.”
Adela, who is the last of five siblings (all sisters), added that “I also sell provision, farine and plenty things to keep my business running and I have almost everyone in the village support me.”
Her father, Bernard Robertson, said he undertook the construction of the shop and also provided support in acquiring much-needed equipment so villagers can enjoy a variety of cold beverages among other things.
“I’m a farmer and I does try to help her with the provision and the lil things to prepare her snack, farine, banana and things like that and she going up. We help her to buy a generator and a freezer to keep her lil things cool, she sweet drink, icicle, cool down and she got everything out there.”
During the evenings, Adela’s hired help, Alex Carlos, ensures her customers enjoy delicious roast meat (chicken/beef) with both eat-in and takeaway services readily available.
Due to the success of the business, Adela was able to acquire a motorcycle which is the family’s only mode of transportation to and from the business since they reside about ten minutes outside of the village.
Her mother, Freda Robertson explained, “her father (Bernard) would bring me in the night and I would keep her company because it is not really safe for her to be alone is a busy place, vehicles up and down all the time and you don’t know people, plenty of them does be passing through so I would come or Ananias (another successful HEYS student) would help out. We would stay here till about ten or so and then we close up and go home.”
Adela, who was an Aeronautical Engineering student in Brazil where all of her siblings reside, (only had ten months to complete her practical) said she had to make a hard decision to quit the training and return home (Aishalton) because of the love she has for her parents who needed her support because of illness.
She said despite this setback, she is determined to give herself and her parents an opportunity to live a prosperous life and “I am working towards that, I love my parents”.
With plans to extend her business, Adela has also already applied to the Aishalton Village Council for another piece of land to construct and open another shop.
According to her, this new venture will see clothing and footwear, groceries and other much-needed commodities available for sale.
Adela was among twenty young people selected from Aishalton to participate in the HEYS Programme which has been a life changing initiative for close to four thousand Indigenous youth across Guyana.