Thirteen single parents drawn from different parts of the country were the first recipients of cheques to establish businesses through the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security’s WOW initiative.
According to a press release from the Government Information Agency (GINA) Minister Priya Manickchand presented the cheques valued from $100,000 to $250,000 to the beneficiaries at a ceremony hosted at the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI). The beneficiaries are Simone Primo, Roxanne Williamson, Teresa Yong, Shivauna Marciano, Oney Forde, Mary Merciano, Vanessa Estwick, Mariska Trotman, Denise Warrick, Lauretta Applesammy, Shondell Adams, Nicola John and Donna Breedy. The women accessed the loans to establish businesses such as rearing broiler chicks, groceries, hair and nail supplies, clothing and a salon. The ministry has approved 92 other applicants for loans and they are set to receive their cheques shortly.
In her address at the ceremony Manickchand said the WOW initiative will make access to financing easier for women to make a livelihood and contribute to Guyana’s development. She said though women often face harsher challenges, over the years government has been creating an environment where they can function and perform at their best and the loans will help to facilitate a brighter future for them, their children and subsequently the whole country. “We launched the WOW just about a month ago and at the launch we promised that we were going to work very hard to ensure that there wasn’t a lot of bureaucracy and running around for persons accessing loans, and I am happy to say that even with the teething problem usually experienced by new departments, (because this is new to both the Ministry and GBTI) we have been able to fast-forward many applications,” she said.
Manickchand told the recipients that the WOW programme will provide “an opportunity for you to show Guyana and banks other than GBTI that women are capable of managing finances just as well as men and although we may be poorer, resource wise, we can utilise all of our training to make our lives and our children’s lives better.”
“We try to do things and put policies in place that will allow our women across the board to thrive, Manickchand said noting that the beneficiaries represent the beginning of what single parents can achieve and their success can prompt the bank to invest more money in the programme. “The Ministry and the GBTI stand ready and are willing to assist you with any problems that you might have in an efficient manner as we might have provided this facility,” she said. Staff from the bank and the ministry will be in Berbice on Saturday and in Essequibo on Wednesday to introduce the programme to women.