Women's Issues In Guyana


Congo-Nya charity opens multi-purpose building

Posted in Activism,Education,Gender Equality by wiig on March 13, 2008
Tags: , , ,

Stabroek News – March 13, 2008

The Congo-Nya Cultural Foundation (CNCF) recently established a multi-purpose building to host craft sessions and a library for young mothers and early school-leavers.

Ivelaw James, head of the CNCF told Stabroek News that the group hopes to acquire sewing machines to teach the young women to make household articles such as bed-sheets and pillowcases so that they can “produce and earn.” James said, “There are a lot of young mothers and early school drop-outs in the area and we want to help them. They are unable to provide their children with proper snacks to send to school and we know that when the children are hungry they cannot focus on their work.” For that reason, James said the CNCF is planning to start a breakfast programme sometime this month so that children “can stop in before going to school and pick up a paper-bag with snacks – sandwich and a local drink.” He said several business persons have indicated their willingness to contribute toward this venture.

Plans are also in train to use the building to promote shows and accommodate artistes from Suriname, Brazil, Linden and Georgetown when they perform in Berbice. James also said he had recently established a library and DVD club to keep “idle” persons in the Angoy’s Avenue community occupied. The library was first established in a section of his home “to get people to read more,” and as it grew it started “to bring about positive changes among unemployed persons.”

In an interview two years ago, James had told this newspaper that he recognized that “circumstances were causing persons to get into trouble.” To improve the situation he started conducting voluntary classes in his home along with remedial reading classes for adults and children as well as craft and drumming. He said the response was overwhelming and soon the library could no longer accommodate them. James said it was then that he came up with the idea to establish the building, “to satisfy the needs of young people,” even though he was not sure where the funds would come from.

James then said he later learnt of a small house that was up for sale and removal at an affordable price. He said he purchased the house with funds left over from last year’s Christmas party and together with his son, Raslij James and other CNCF members they fashioned the CNCF building on a piece of land he had available next to his Angoy’s Avenue home. The man said that Peace Corps Volunteer Jeremy Byde who had helped out at the CNCF was impressed with their work and upon his return to America “developed a website and posted stories about our work. He got 30 persons to form a group called “Friends of Congo Nya (FCN).” He said the FCN then sent US$460 for CNCF to host the party but not all of it was used as the group had also gotten help from local business persons. The remaining funds were used to buy the house.

James said too before leaving Guyana Byde presented his laptop computer to the CNCF while other volunteers donated a camcorder, a typewriter and a few books for the library. Raslij has started to record events to sustain the group and is also currently developing his computer skills so he can use the laptop to generate more income. He also conducts classes on Wednesdays and Fridays from 4pm and on Sundays from midday when persons are treated with lunch and snacks. Raslij said the group sustains the feeding programme by hosting fundraising activities such as cultural shows, food sale, concerts and shows at schools countrywide.

James said he is grateful to this newspaper for highlighting the CNCF’s efforts. He said since the publication persons have donated books to the library. (Shabna Ullah)

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