By Leon Suseran
Construction has begun on the US$400,000 Benevolent Home at Ankerville, Port Mourant Corentyne. A simple block- laying ceremony was recently held at the site. The fence has started to take shape around the complex. The New Jersey Arya Samaj and its Guyana chapter, the Guyana Central Arya Samaj Humanitarian Mission, turned the sod for the construction of the complex in March of this year.
The home will provide accommodation for street children, abused persons, the aged 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 dropouts, amongst others. According to a representative of the NJASHM, Pandit Kamaldeo Dhanessar, Phase One of the massive project has begun and is scheduled to be completed by January 2013. Upon completion, Phase Two, the construction of an empowerment centre, will begin.
“The empowerment centre will be a centre for skills training. One of our objectives is to reach out to the community where we have single parents and school dropouts, so that by having this centre ready, we can begin the skills training of all these people who are not empowered”. The aim of the mission is to empower people for social and economic well- being. “We are hoping that this whole project, upon completion by March 2014, will become a hub of activities, and will be of great social and economic benefit for the Region 6 community”, he added. “Of course, we may have instances where people outside of Region Six will be accommodated in the dormitories that we will be setting up later on. We hope that we will have the cooperation of all stakeholders”.
A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Region Six Councilor, Mr Crawford, who also laid a block at the ceremony, said that he has been paying very close ‘attention to the benevolent home project. “I feel very much honoured to participate in such an activity, because, for the time that this organization has been established in Guyana, I have been very impressed by the number of projects they have done in schools. “They will have our fullest support.” Imran Ally, Deputy Regional Executive Officer, who represented the Government of Guyana, also laid a block. He was pleased about the start of the actual construction. “We are pleased to be here at this cornerstone laying and for his initiative happening right here in Berbice and we just want to say hats- off and kudos to the mission.” Ally noted, too, that the government knows that it cannot fulfill all the needs of the people by itself, “and here is where we have an organization partnering with the government to bring relief to the less- fortunate”. He applauded the government’s commitment to support the project, and provide technical assistance “to continue to see this project to its completion stage and it comes to fruition”