‘Choose to change’ – Sophia Training Centre graduates urged

Best graduating student Avinash Seepaul addressing his fellow graduates (DPI photo)

Fifty-nine graduates of the Sophia Training Centre were on Friday urged to choose change in order to grow.

“You have to choose to change if you don’t change you won’t grow. Change is the one thing that is constant. Things will change and as you start to move the path will appear as to where you want to go,” Ministry of the Presidency staffer, Shondell France told the graduates, according to the Department of Public Information (DPI).

The graduates are  beneficiaries of the Citizens Security Strengthening Programme (CSSP) skills training programme, 2017-2018.

The training was done under component one of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)-funded programme aimed at reducing recidivism and strengthening community resilience to crime and violence. The students were trained in Catering, Information Technology and Office Administration, Masonry, Plumbing and Sheet metal and Welding, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, and Fabrication.

Adverting to the challenges she overcame – growing up in poverty with a drug-addicted foster father from whom her mother eventually fled in the middle of the night taking her children with her – France asserted that the cycle of poverty can be broken.

“Commit to constantly improving yourself, invest in yourself make the small changes. Surround yourself with people who are going where you want to go, choose to change.”

She also charged them to assist others as they break the circle of poverty.

Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan noted that the responsibility of reducing crime and violence especially at the youth level should not be carried by the police alone. He added that there must be a social component, a programme that ensures young men and women from vulnerable communities come forward and get vocational training.

Ramjattan also charged the graduates to continue to improve and develop their skills which he said will be in high demand as Guyana becomes an oil-producing nation.

Special awards were given to best graduating student Avinash Seepaul, second runner-up Ezekiel Roache and more than a dozen other trainees.

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