Compatriots are in shock and saddened at the passing of Dr. Faith Harding, a Guyanese treasure and an educator who touched the lives of thousands of citizens in the Republic and around the world. She was 67-years old.
Dr. Harding, a former member of Parliament under the People’s National Congress/Reform (PNC/R) and government minister, died on Friday, Jan. 23, in her homeland after a brief illness.
“I feel deep sadness to hear of the death of Dr. Harding.”“She was a phenomenal woman,” “she had an infectious laughter,” “a warm personality,” “a woman of class,” “lovely lady” “I feel deep sadness to hear of the death of Dr. Harding.”were all sentiments shared by many.
Dr. Harding who was the first female born in Guyana to seek the nomination of her party to vie for the presidency in 2011 but was unsuccessful, inspired a generation.
A psychotherapist and fierce advocate for women’s rights, Dr. Harding was vigilant in her pursuit to educate youth and empower women through several projects. She started an agricultural initiative with a gift of sorrel seedlings she received from the Mexican government, giving women the opportunity to start their own businesses.
“I loved that she always sent out positive vibes. She always had a smile, and would extend a hug. My most indelible memory was attending a Kwe Kwe at her home for her son’s marriage,” said Dr. Vibert Cambridge, president of the Guyana Cultural Association.
He added, “She enjoyed and celebrated her heritage. I will always remember her culinary skills. For me, she made the best souse in Guyana.”
Cultural Director of GCA, Claire Goring expressed her sadness, and remembered Dr. Harding as a staunch supporter of the Annual Folk Festival in Brooklyn.
“Faith Harding was a strong supporter of the work of the Guyana Cultural Association of New York. Once she was in New York she attended the Folk Festival functions and in fact was in the front row at the Family Fun Day last year.”
“Her dedication to service and her ability to engage and inspire impoverished women in Guyana will be remembered. Our sympathy to her family,” added Goring.
“The late Dr.Faith Harding had many industrious visions for improving and developing Guyana. She was the only person in the private sector and opposition who encouraged Guyanese to return to the soil to utilize the vast hinter land of Guyana and to be independent of the government,” said Winslow Padmore, blogger, and creator of facebook page — Georgetown People.
Faith, a woman of dignity, loved and respected throughout her life’s journey, was a great cook and entertainer said her friend Lorna Welshman-Neblett. “The legendary Guyanese prepared the best cuisine for pageant contestants whenever they visited her home in Guyana,” she added.
Dr. Harding who helped to shape the development of Guyana, leaves behind a rich legacy that includes her service to her country and contributions to politics that began with her stint at the Ministry of Planning and Development and later with then President Desmond Hoyte.
Her tireless, outstanding work stretched across continents. The United Nations appointed her head of a peacekeeping mission to restore democracy in East Timor. She was later named leader of a crisis team by the World Bank to reform South Sudan in Africa.
Hundreds of student benefited from Dr. Harding’s scholarship programs which contributed thousands of cash grants, and many others educated through training in the medical field and vocational problems.
According to Guyana’s Kaieteur news, the veteran mental health practitioner was instrumental in developing the Early Childhood (Nursery) Education curriculum for the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) in the 1980s. She once held the position of assistant chief education officer within the Ministry of Education.
Dr. Harding, who did extensive work studying the human brain, graduated from Columbia University and held a Bachelor of Education Degree, and two master’s degrees, one in Arts & Curriculum and the other in Education.
Husband Patrick Harding, president of the Gold Miners Association, son, Patrick Jr., sister Christine Blackmoore Williams, and others mourn her death.