KINGSTON – Some 20 young persons from across the island were presented with cheques totaling $872, 900.00 on March 25, to pursue educational as well as entrepreneurial pursuits.
The recipients, who are from the parishes of Portland, St. Mary, Clarendon, Kingston, St. Thomas, Hanover and Manchester, have been assisted under the Government’s Youth Empowerment Strategy (YES) programme.
Of the number, six persons will be concentrating on small businesses, while the others will be attending various institutions.
The programme targets at-risk youth in inner-city communities, and is designed to provide financial assistance for educational purposes (Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate – CSEC, Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations -CAPE or tertiary), or to develop small businesses.
Addressing the recipients at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, in Kingston, Portfolio Minister, Hon. Pearnel Charles encouraged them to set their goals high and to continue striving for the best.
He said the programme seeks to give persons an opportunity to obtain financial assistance or linkages to institutions, which will allow them to create a sense of independence, either through education or entrepreneurship.
Mr. Charles applauded the entrepreneurial spirit of the individuals venturing into that area, noting that over time they will be able to create employment opportunities for others. He encouraged those pursuing educational pursuits to do well in school, noting that through education, their dreams will become a reality.
For his part, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Alvin McIntosh encouraged the recipients to use the money to assist in elevating themselves.
He said that the assistance will allow them to provide for themselves regardless of their social status. “To effectively eradicate and eliminate poverty, people should be equipped with the means to empower themselves,” he said, adding that even though the assistance may be small, the value depends on how wisely they use the money.
One of the beneficiaries, Kaffy-Ann Simpson said she is grateful for the assistance, adding that it will be used to attain her dreams of starting her business in cosmetology.
The YES project is part of the Fresh Start Social Intervention Programme being administered through the Office of the Prime Minister.
Since its inception in October 2008, YES has disbursed approximately $8 million to 239 beneficiaries to continue their education or to start agricultural or trading operations. For the year to date, over $1.3 million has been paid out to recipients.
By CHRIS PATTERSON, JIS Reporter