Vulnerable children to benefit from new mentorship programme

President Dr Irfaan Ali speaking at the launching of the Youth Empowerment and Mentorship Programme on Friday

Some 40 children and youths will be the first batch to benefit from the newly-launched Youth Empowerment & Mentorship Programme – an initiative that will see various leaders working with vulnerable participants to equip them with the tools and guidance needed to harness their talents.
This Empowerment and Mentorship programme is a collaboration between the Men on Mission (MoM) initiative and the Private Sector Commission (PSC). It will target children and youths, aged five to 14, with the first batch of 40 already identified in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica).
Hosted at the One Guyana Kitchen on Main Street, Georgetown, the programme will commence from June 1 and will see participants receiving meals, assistance with homework, access to computers and the Internet, and motivational sessions by prominent Guyanese leaders as well as extra-curricular activities including yoga and karate.
During the launch on Friday in Georgetown, President Dr Irfaan Ali lauded the multi-faceted partnership with the Private Sector that will provide positive role models for these vulnerable participants.
“This group of Private Sector persons are coming together in a sustainable way to keep these children in this [empowerment and mentorship] environment until they graduate out of the programme… They will bring these children together in the afternoons and there will be a roster of individuals including the Chief-of-Defence Staff, myself, the Commissioner of Police… who will come in the evenings to talk to the children to identify whether they have any specific and special talent that we could also develop – sporting talent, technical talent.
“And then we have Nations School that would help us to supervise the extra learning for the children when they come here… So, if we have kids who need additional work on reading, in mathematics, on numeracy skills; they will get that support from an environment that offers that support,” the President noted.
According to the Head of State, the Private Sector will support these vulnerable children and youths throughout their secondary education and then ensure they further their studies at the tertiary level.
“So, whether you need to go to the University of Guyana, which will be free by then [or] you go on the GOAL scholarship programme, which is again free – the Government is building all of these facilities to support every young person. But we need that guidance, that motivation and that modelling, and that is what this group will do,” Ali posited.
MOM, a brainchild of President Ali, is currently working with the Private Sector in Regions Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) and Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo) to roll out similar mentorship programmes there.
MOM Representative, Lieutenant Colonel Bhageshwar Murli underscored the important role mentorship plays in shaping children and youths. He explained that this mentorship programme was structured to provide foundational support and guidance to young people.
He added that for this programme, mentors would be “carefully matched” with mentees who have shared interests and goals thus creating meaningful and lasting connections.
“This programme will offer regular one-on-one meetings, group activities, workshops… and learning opportunities throughout Guyana. We have high hopes for the outcome of our programme. By connecting our youngsters with supportive role models we aim to instil confidence, inspire ambition and foster personal and professional development. Through this programme, we aspire to see our young people thrive, equipped with the positive habits, skills, and knowledge needed to navigate life’s challenges and seize opportunities,” Murli stated.
One of the major Private Sector supporters is ENet and according to its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Vishook Persaud, this programme will help to empower and equip Guyanese children to think differently and become part of the local workforce.
He also spoke about the importance of a balanced environment that will foster academic and extra-curricular activities for Guyanese children and youths. Persaud further lobbied for wider participation from the Private Sector to support the empowering and mentoring of Guyana’s future leaders.
Another prominent Guyanese supporting this programme is former national cricketer and businessman, Lennox Cush. (G8)