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First Lady offers continued support to 25 graduates of adolescent mothers’ programme

Georgetown, Guyana – (December 13, 2018) First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, today encouraged 25 graduates of the Comprehensive Empowerment Programme for Adolescent Mothers (CEPAM), to continue on their path to success while offering her support through several holistic improvement programmes
that are executed under her stewardship, in addition to those that are available through organs of the State.

At the graduation ceremony, which was hosted in the Baridi Benab at State House, Mrs. Granger told the participants gathered that, “There is always a link to get you to where you want to go… If you want to go back to school, the Ministry of  Education now has a policy to get you there. If you want to continue your
education without going to school, there are other means through which you can do it, my Office coordinates workshops in Information [and] Communication Technology (ICT); we have child care, senior care and Success in Business workshops. There is always someone at your back and at your side”.
Meanwhile, in her feature address at the ceremony, United Nations Resident Co-ordinator and United
Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative, Ms. Mikiko Tanaka noted that while
adolescent mothers and their children may face many risks, the Government of Guyana has shown a
considerable amount of effort to reduce same and help these young families to become successful and
productive citizens.
“The Government’s effort to invest in adolescent mothers is evident with the drafting of the national
policy for the reintegration of adolescent mothers into the formal school system … this will ultimately help
to reduce the amount of pregnancy among school aged girls and increase the [number] of adolescent
girls who re-enter the formal school system to complete their secondary education,” Ms. Tanaka said.
CEPAM is an initiative organised by Women Across Differences (WAD), where the First Lady serves as
patron, in collaboration with Republic Bank (Guyana) Limited. During the year-long programme,
participants are given psychosocial support while being taught entrepreneurship skills, academics, family
planning and other subject areas. To date, a total of 570 teenage mothers have graduated from the
programme since it started 10 years ago.
Representative of the Bank, Manager – Marketing and Communications, Ms. Michelle Johnson, said that
the entity was proud to be a part of the programme. “Republic Bank will continue to support this group,
in fact we continue to look at ways in which we can even expand our support,” Ms. Johnson said. She
then wished the graduates well and encouraged them to continue to overcome adversities.
In addition, testifying of the programme’s impact on her life graduate, Ms. Iyanna Grenardo praised WAD
for providing an anchor from which she could access CEPAM and become a success. “Women Across
Differences is my comfort zone. They thought me how to be strong and how to write things in the sand
and let the wind of forgiveness blow it away; they thought me how to love everyone because everyone
has been through something and they need help to recover; they thought me (how) to be a mother and
they helped me to further my education,” she said.