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Jul 6, 2018

At-Risk Youths Learn to be Entrepreneurs

More than sixty at risk youths of Belize City came together today for a one day session to learn how to do business. The collaborative effort between the Belize Police Department and the Department of Co-operatives is part of International Day of Co-operatives which will be commemorated on Saturday. Today’s session was aimed at steering youths away from gang life and shaping them to become entrepreneurs. News Five’s Hipolito Novelo reports.

 

Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

In Belize City, mainly in the Region One jurisdiction, youths are at risk of becoming gang members. It is a societal problem that authorities have difficulty in successfully addressing. In an effort to change that culture, Region One Commander, Senior Superintendent of Police, Howell Gillett, collaborated with the Department of Co-operatives in a one day session in which youths from gang-affected communities engaged in entrepreneurial training. Registrar of Cooperatives Gareth Murillo explains.

 

Gareth Murillo

Gareth Murillo, Registrar of Co-operatives, Ministry of Agriculture

“Our idea is to inculcate in them the entrepreneurial spirit from an early age. What we want them to understand is that they may not necessarily have or even have access to all of the resources needed to start a business. But that if they pool with their colleagues whether those resources are mental or material, that they pool those resources together, work together and have a business.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“What would you say to someone who would question: aren’t they too young to be entrepreneurs or too young to even to think to be entrepreneurs?”

 

Gareth Murillo

“Well you are never too young to start to have those ideas. From our experience, that is where that comes from. You are never too young to start.”

 

They are never too young to start saving, or learn financial literacy, think outside the box and certainly never too young to look forward to a better future.  The children were kept engaged by representatives of the Belize Credit Union League, BELTRAIDE, the Directorate of Foreign Trade and the Belize Bureau of Standards. The lessons were kept brief and easy.

 

Howell Gillett

Sr. Supt. Howell Gillett, O.C., Eastern Division Region One

“It is so amazing the coming together of these kids. As a matter of fact we have kids from Rocky Road interacting very closely with kids from Mayflower area. It is strategic for us because we want to show the young people that there is a better way to the lives that you see in your neighborhood. Where there is hope the young people behave in a different manner. It is all strategic in my view what we are doing here. We will try to collaborate with other stakeholders to get our young people, to show them that the conventional jobs, convention way of life might not be the only way. We have to think outside the box and know that there are other opportunities if you only create it themselves.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“We’ve seen instances whereby young persons become victims of gun violence related to gangs and their territory. What happens when they go out there in the real world knowing that they belong to one territory and I belong to the other?”

 

Sr. Supt. Howell Gillett

“What we are doing in essence is to have a change in culture because it is not every dispute that you need to pull a gun. But if you bring you together here and become friends in this safe environment you might well b e friends in the future because you will not see any barrier that you are from a different area. That is the precisely objective; to get young people at a very early age to interact with each other regardless of communities, regardless of the circumstances you can be friends. That is the way we believe we can fight crime now and in the future.”

 

And in the future, eleven years old Jason Bernard hopes to be a contributing member of society.

 

Jason Bernard

Jason Bernard, Participant  

 

“I learn to create a big business because they are teaching us how to develop it.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“What kind of business do you want to get into?”

 

Jason Bernard

“Well, to me it is to create a bank. That is all I can say.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“This is helping you to help you not being in any gang? Do you want to be in a gang? “

 

Jason Bernard

“No.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“What are you parents saying about this? Do they support you?”

 

Jason Bernard

“They send me every Saturday when it is time to go on trip for bible school.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“How many friends have you met?”

 

Jason Bernard

 

“Some.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“And these are from different areas in Belize City?”

 

Jason Bernard

“Yes.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“You like the workshop so far?”

 

Jason Bernard

“Yes.”

 

Reporting for Love News, I am Hipolito Novelo.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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