The New Jersey Arya Samaj and its Guyana chapter, the Guyana Central Arya Samaj Humanitarian Mission on Saturday turned the sod for the construction of a humanitarian home at Ankerville, Port Mourant, Corentyne, Region Six.
The home will provide accommodation for street children, abused persons, aged persons without family, as well as provide a skills training centre meant to train and empower not only the residents of the village, but also single parents, teenage mothers, and school drop outs, amongst others.
Speaking at the ceremony, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds registered his appreciation to the Arya Samaj groups for its humanitarian efforts which complements the work of the government.
“ In a world where we all find ourselves stretched to provide for our needs, the Samaj has embarked on a project to help the needs of the less fortunate… I challenge and encourage others to do what they could to meet the evidenced need of their community,” the Government Information Agency ( GINA) quoted prime minister as saying.
The prime minister believes that in doing so, a network can be established countrywide, which will complement government’s efforts at addressing social ills.
Region Six Chairman David Armogan said the facility will look at addressing the social ills in society.
“ The location for such an initiative is perfect as it is in the countryside that persons are affected most from societal ills… at the regional level, we are committed to such a project, as such, whatever is necessary for us to do, we will do… other friendly societies, NGOs and social groups are welcomed to partner with the region to address societal problems,” Armogan said.
Karen De Souza of Red Thread said that there will never be enough organisations addressing the needs of the poor and needy.
“ Whilst this initiative is impressive, we have to commit ourselves to being willing, bold and brave enough to speak out against societal issues… we need to call out the influential people to de sist from abusing and taking advantage of the poor…,” De Souza said.
Human Services and Social Security Minister Dr Jenifer Webster said the sod turning for the construction of the home is historic in Guyana and Region Six, as it means that a wider range of social services will be available to its residents.
“ The Samaj is a body we should be proud of for the humanitarian work they are doing and their initiative to fund a project that will help the less fortunate… government is committed to working with not only the Samaj, but any other organisation that is willing to become a partner, as we must all join forces to rid society of age- long societal ills,” the human services minister said.
She added that if victims of such ills do not have access to services of support, then society will rapidly deteriorate, as the ills are on the increase.
“ This is something that must be dealt with… we have seen increased efforts from the judiciary in dealing with matters of domestic violence and child abuse… however, many of our victims at the end of it all cannot face up to what had happened to them, therefore the need for support,” Minister Webster said.
Minister within the Finance Ministry Bishop Juan Edghill said that people need to return to the spiritual basis because living in a religious setting lays the foundation for decent living, and it particularly promotes the strengthening of the family and love, which is the solution to the societal ills that are seen today.
“ We must stop posting stories of men behaving dysfunctional on the front pages of our print media… we need to change the message that is being spread through society from hate to love, as these things are missing in our society today. Seldom do you see someone highlight a man and his wife enjoy a romantic moment… no amount of legislation can stop the scourge of domestic violence and we cannot only invest money, but we should also invest the moral teaching which will lead to the repair and restoration,” Minister Edghill said.
United States Embassy, Charges D’ Affaires, Thomas Pierce said organisations as the Arya Samaj are indispensible as they assist government in providing a number of social services which boosts development. Pierce said that the project being undertaken by the Arya Samaj groups further assist those in the community and expose them to skills training, and other educational opportunities which will see them living better lives.
Meanwhile, Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana David Devine registered his pleasure with the religious groups for their work, particularly in the field of humanitarian relief. The high commissioner believes that such selfless acts by or ganisations that recognise the need to give back to those in need around them speak volumes and should not go unnoticed.
Guyana’s Consul General to Canada Sattie Sawh said, “ We are witnessing the commencement of something that will have impact on thou sands who stand to benefit… this project is significant as it cuts across religion and political and cultural identities, as it will be opened for the betterment of all and, it will not only be a place to have a meal or spend the night, but it will also offer educational and skills training opportunities, which is exemplary”. The humanitarian home when constructed will produce a technical vocational education programme for accreditation by the Education Ministry; work towards the eradication of poverty through empowerment and education by making available competence- based skills for the village’s residents and even school drop outs living in nearby area; empower residents with personal development skills and reform residents for positive contributions to society.