The “Y” Marks 61 Years
The YWCA is celebrating sixty-one years of being in Belize. To mark this milestone, on Sunday they started a week of activities under the theme “Empowering Women in a Changing World.” News Five’s Andrea Polanco stopped in at the YWCA on Wednesday for a youth information and educational fair and shares how that went.
Andrea Polanco, Reporting
On Wednesday, the YWCA, along with partners, B.F.L.A. and the GREAT Program, held a youth information and educational fair to share the services and programmes they offer. Students from across the City gathered at the YWCA grounds to learn about the trade educational opportunities available at the learning institution. One of the programmes being showcased is the Creating A Safe Space Agenda (CASSA). Manager Darlene Gentle explains what it is and how it works.
Darlene Gentle, CASSA Project Manager, YWCA
“It is to help to address the educational and entrepreneurship skills for students who come from marginalized communities in Belize and Belmopan. So, what we have displayed under here, we have some of the girls in the entrepreneurship program with things that they baked like sweets and stuff displayed there and they are selling it. What we do for the remedial courses, Standard 5 students they come and they learn the English and Mathematics. We make sure that they get that background information so that when they go into Standard 6 and they are ready for the PSE examinations. With the first formers; they are students who leave from their primary schools into new schools for high schools and they have difficulty adjusting so we help them with their English, Math and Spanish; so they are able to cope with the new environment and stuff like that. In addition to doing that, we do personal development courses for them where we help them with anger management, self-esteem, and other topics.”
“What would you like these students to take away from this fair here today?”
“We are hoping that they know that for little or nothing they can come and get that background math and English that will help them to move on and increase their grades or improve their grades and become very comfortable or knowledgeable in the subjects and become confident that they can get a good job and become a productive citizen.”
Also on display at the Mini fair is the work of the Helping Early Leavers Programme (HELP). The Programme was launched in 2012 to give girls a second chance. Today they are putting the skills they learnt on display. Principal Bent explains why this programme meets a gap.
Alicia Bent, Principal Help Programme, YWCA
“It is a two year alternative education programme for girls between the ages thirteen to nineteen. And it may be girls who don’t go on to high school to seek that further educational opportunity or girls who may have dropped out of the high school system and here we provide them another chance to still be able to fulfill their life’s dreams and aspirations. At the end of this two year programme, our girls can enroll in the ITVET programme, because it is a trade skills base in hospitality, cosmetology and sewing; for some they can continue into the evening programme at Gwen Liz high school or some may just want to be their own boss and so the entrepreneurship aspect is an integral part of the trades skills programme.”
“Is there a demand you would say for this programme here at the YWCA?”
“Oh, certainly. There is a wide demand. As we know the education statistics would show that not all the primary level will go on to high school, so we can fill that gap. And as I mentioned, it is a second chance programme so you can still become who you want to be.”
One of those students is Nicole Martinez. She is in the hospitality programme.
Nicole Martinez, HELP Student, YWCA
“I make jam roll every Wednesday and I make my own jam. The jams I provide are pineapple and tomato.”
“Why did you decide to take up hospitality?”
“When I leave from the Y, I decide to open my own lee place and make jam roll to sell.”
“What do you like about baking and/or cooking?”
“What I like about it is that you get to learn so many things like cake, sausage roll and pizza and suh.”
“So we can look out fi Nicole’s place in a few – or two years – or so?”
Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.