The vision of the Arya Samaj Humanitarian Mis-sion for reducing poverty and social problems affecting Berbicians is closer to becoming a reality as construction of the Empower-ment and Training Centre moves apace.
The centre, located at Ankerville, Port Mourant, Corentyne will target school dropouts, single parents and victims of domestic violence among others.
Construction of the $17M centre commenced on September 29 and by April 10 next year the first batch of trainees would also be admitted. That date would coincide with the anniversary of the Arya Samaj in India.
The empowerment centre is the second phase of the Humanitarian Mission Village project that is being undertaken by the New Jersey Arya Samaj/Guy-ana Central Arya Samaj Humanitarian Mission.
Advisor to the project, Pandit Kamal Dhanesar said the facility is the “first step towards establishing safer communities” and hoped that “it can help to change the social and economic landscapes of Region 6 and Guyana.”
Members of the mission have observed that many young persons who are not effectively empowered are involved in negative behaviours including substance and domestic abuse, drug consumption and suicide.
Persons would be trained in areas such as welding and fabrication, joinery and woodwork, garment construction, information technology, food and nutrition and catering, hollow blocks production, literacy and basic electronics.
The mission hopes that after acquiring the skills participants would be empowered to either establish their own businesses or seek employment.
Dhanesar recalled that the organization started out by distributing items to the needy. They have decided to “move away from that” since “empowering persons would be better than if they had to sit and wait for handouts.”
Recognizing the “magnitude of the task ahead,” Dhanesar said they would “partner with governmental and non-governmental organisations at home and abroad, individuals with relevant skills who may be willing to come on board to facilitate the training programmes, or who may be willing to provide support…”
He said the Arya Samaj groups in Canada came on board and raised CD$18,000 towards the project.
He was optimistic that despite negative comments, the “Humanitarian Mission Village will be a reality and would serve the less fortunate and the vulnerable in society. It would help to “transform the society and remove poverty…”
The mission had acquired the lease for the plot of land from the government in February 2012 and one month later the sod-turning ceremony was held.
The first phase of the project commenced in October last year and was completed in May. It included the construction of a high-security fence along with the filling and levelling of the land.
The third phase of the project would see the establishment of a U-shaped two-flat building which would house the dormitories for 150 children, seniors, and abused victims.
It will also cater for an administrative office, nurses’ quarters and centre, quarters for house mother/father, four counselling rooms, library and sick-bay.
There would also be a multi-cultural shed where persons can practise their respective religions, a quarter for off-duty nurses and accommodations for overseas funding agents and agencies. According to Dhanesar, services at the benevolent home would not be restricted to the persons staying-in but it would also benefit residents in the community.
While the stay of the old folks would be on a long-term basis, the victims of the gender-based violence can choose to move on to a single life or return to a family life.