Some 161 Region 10 youths are to receive business grants totalling over G$8M to aid their small-business ventures as the Hinterland Employment Youth Service (HEYS) Programme continues to make huge strides countrywide.

On Friday, Vice-president and Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock, visited the Coomacka Resource Centre in Linden where he launched the programme.
Each participant will receive a grant of $50,000 to aid small businesses in the region; these include snackettes, grocery shops, poultry-rearing, car washing, ice cream shops, beauty salons and supplies, game shops, DVD shops, electronic shops, welding and joinery, fuel and farming.

According to a release from the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Minister Allicock, addressing the gathering of youths, commended them for staying the course with the HEYS programme.

“This movement is about educating and respecting one another…it is an incentive enough to move you forward into your dreams. You can use these opportunities to create new products, new activities, like your chicken farms [and] fish farms. Plant purple potato and other nutritious crops, use pieces of lumber …. use the opportunity to turn them into valuable pieces for sale,” the minister advised, to applause from the audience.

Speaking of the positive impact the HEYS programme has had on her life, Sheniza Singh of the Three Friends community, stated: “Life since HEYS has been good for me, because I learned a lot from the training. The money I will be getting I will use that to help expand my business and I would like to thank our President and the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs for bringing HEYS to our community; and I would like HEYS to come back so that other youths can benefit.”

The HEYS programme is the ministry’s flagship youth programme, aimed at giving indigenous/hinterland youths a second chance at life through training and funding.
It is currently ongoing in 112 hinterland communities countrywide and has impacted some 4,000 youths from 2015 to present.

Another beneficiary from the Coomacka Mines by the name of DeAndrae Daniels, at the event, expressed her gratefulness for the programme and thanked Neighbourhood Democratic Council Chairman Dexter Harding for directions given to develop their 20190409 9

Another testimony about the benefits of the programme came from Kelly Blunt, a participant from Siberia/Old England, who stated: “Life before HEYS was very hard. I used to depend on my mother who is a single parent to take care of me. I used to get very frustrated many days and then HEYS came to my community and I was very lucky to be a part of the programme. I am now my own boss. I started with ice cream and cone; I saved my stipend to buy my freezer and my scoop, and I saved my stipend again to buy other stuff…I still suffer from seizures, but my life is easier now.”

After listening to the testimonies, Mayor of Linden, Waneka Arrindell, noted how privileged she is to see the camaraderie demonstrated by the respective communities.
She commended the youths for remaining in their communities and for playing an integral role in their (communities) development.

Meanwhile, Regional Executive Officer Orin Gordon noted that the exercise is a manifestation of a promise made to the youths of Linden for further development.
Based on observation and statistics, he stated that HEYS has moved from a programme to becoming an “irreversible movement.”

According to the ministry, the HEYS programme continues to positively change the lives of youths across the hinterland and by doing so, is ensuring delivery of the ‘good life’ promised.