by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
At a time when young people are disproportionately affected by an unemployment rate of 24%, the Ministry of Tourism and Culture on Tuesday graduated over 50 previously unskilled females who for the last 6 weeks were involved in a craft training programme.
These women are encouraged to form co-operatives to sustain a lucrative livelihood within the tourism industry. During their 6-week training, they made a variety of textile products including batik clothing, tie-dye t-shirts and pillows.
At Tuesday’s ceremony held at the Beausejour Community Centre, graduates were presented certificates to mark their completion.
Minister for Youth and Sports Hon. Anthony Boatswain, Advisor to the Minister of Tourism, Brenda Hood and Parliament Representative for St John, Alvin Dabreo, attended the graduation ceremony. Hood told graduates to improve the skills they have learned over their training period. She said, “The whole idea is to empower people so that they can create opportunities for employment; as you know culture and tourism work together and if we can get many of you to work in various constituencies setting up booths, so you can earn a living, that’s what it’s all about.”
Training and Education facilitator within the Department of Cooperatives, Joseph Gordon, explained the democratic nature of co-operative enterprise. He reminded participants that forming co-operatives encourages participation, broadens ownership and grows the economy of the country. “…Co-operatives will positively affect the gross domestic product (GDP) which means if you produce, you satisfy the local market; you have excess, it is then sold regionally and internationally thus bring in foreign exchange.”
One of the participants, Ann Phillip, took the opportunity to thank the Government of Grenada for making the training available. “…You [Government] have provided not only training but something more sentimental [than] a dollar value can never be placed on; you provided hope… I, on behalf of the other participants, promise you here today that you will not regret the investment you have made in our future.”