Guyana’s first lady to aid STEM programs

Bridge The Gap Intercontinental Board of Directors Ismay Griffith, Joycelyn Thomas, Dr. Alisha Griffith, Dr. Candace Cummings, and Dwight Dundas, standing, are pictured with Guyana Consul General, Barbara Atherley.., First Lady, H.E. Sandra Granger and NY State Senator, Roxanne Persaud, sitting.
Photo by Tangerine Clarke

Fundraising for science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, (STEM) must be considered one of the most philanthropic efforts made to help millions of children in Guyana. This is why why Bridge the Gap InterContinental (BTCI) took on the challenge to establish fundamental goals to prepare youth for the competitive job market in the 21st century.

A Saturday, Sept. 24 program indicated that this organization will succeed, as many technology savvy and highly educated Guyanese pledged their support during a fundraising luncheon in the Banquet Hall of New Life Truth Center Church in Brooklyn, where patron, and humanitarian, First Lady of Guyana, H.E. Sandra Granger, was the keynote speaker.

First Lady Granger gave a synopsis of some of the main avenues of educating youth, ages10-14 from varied social circumstances who showed interest and potential in a recent robotics workshop in the rural area of Buxton.

Mrs. Granger teamed up with Georgia-based Guyanese Karen Abrams, a technology expert, to stimulate and spark the curiosity of learning in robotics, a program which is supported by NGOs in Guyana, the diaspora and corporate sponsors.

Through the workshops held in August of this year in Guyana, 140 children learned computer coding and robotics. It is the hope that the project expands to benefit children of every region of Guyana.

“I am excited about the strides Guyana is making in STEM. These programs will educate children, many, who because of their social circumstances, are left behind,” said Granger.

She is calling for enhanced infrastructure in Guyana’s technology framework that would allow students constant access to technology and computer literacy.

In addition to her STEM initiative, Granger continues to empower youth, woman and the elderly through her programs that includes; Information and Communication Technology (ITC), Empowerment of Teenage Mothers, in collaboration with Women Across Differences (WAD), Self-reliance and Success in Business Workshops for Woman, and Caring for the elderly Workshops, among others.

In her recent panel discussion at the Annual General Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, (CGI) Granger said that global solidarity is a prerequisite to ensure the stamping out of gender inequalities in keeping with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal Three, which speaks to the empowerment of women and girls.

The first lady’s presentation garnered a pledge of support from the Commonwealth Secretary General Baroness Patricia Scotland as she continues to work to protect young women in her homeland.

Senator Roxanne Persaud has called on Guyanese to donate used technology equipment and encouraged professionals to reach out to technology giant Apple for donations that would help in the education process, and access to technology.

“If you want to get kids fully involved in anything of substance, you must teach them about technology,” said Senator Persaud, who was proud to meet a Guyanese-born teacher during an Apple donation of 450 IPads, and Mac TVs at a school in her 19th Senate District.

“We must “bridge the gap” with Guyana,” said Senator Persaud who congratulated the organization on its successful launch.

Speaking on behalf of the Guyana Consulate, NY, Consul General Barbara Atherly applauded Bridge the Gap Intercontinental for its brilliant initiative that would serve millennial and youth in both countries.

“These skills are certainly in line with great development. You must set up connections with professionals in the two countries. Your recent engagement with the University of Guyana is a step in the right direction,” said Atherly.

“Onward, upward may you ever grow,” said CG Atherly, adding that the consulate stands ready to support the efforts of the organization.

President of the organization Dr. Alisha Griffith, who plans to connect all Guyanese children while giving back, engaged STEM educator and health polity management professional Shevon McCalman who gave an overview of teaching cutting-edge technology to the youth of Guyana so that they stay competitive in today’s world of technology.

Dwight Dundas and Rennie Parris, along with professionals in the audience expressed the need for STEM in Guyana’s schools and pledged their support to the success of Bridge the Gap Intercontinental.

Board of directors include Dr. Alisha Griffith, president; Rennie Parris, vice president; Dr. Candace Cummings, secretary; and members Jocelyn Wilson and Ismay Griffith.

Pastor of New Life Truth Center Church, Ellen John, blessed the event.

To volunteer with Bridge The Gap Intercontinental, send email to Facebook – Bridgethegapint.

First Lady of Guyana, H.E. Sandra Granger, addresses the audience on the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in Guyana.
Photo by Tangerine Clarke

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