Guyana Foundation opens craft store in Cayman

On Monday 20th November 2017, the Hand Made With Love craft store opened in Cayman. Lots of crafts are on display from Guyana, the Cayman Islands as well as those produced by inmates of the prison in Cayman.

Chloe, Naomi and Asher with their Mom, Joannah and Dad, Peter, cut the ribbon dressed in old style Caymanian costumes.

There was an opening prayer after which Mrs. Supriya Singh-Bodden, founder of the Guyana Foundation, gave some background information on the project. Officials from the prison spoke about all of the exciting things that will come on stream next year to sell craft made by inmates in the store.

Many thanks to the Press and everyone else in attendance at this activity, and especially to all of our suppliers in Guyana. Everything which includes handbags, crochet beachwear, slippers, baskets, tibisiri mats, belts, wallets, wai wai jewellery, were highly complimented from everyone who attended the opening ceremony.

Photos by Maggie Johnson.

Chloe, Naomi and Asher with their Mom, Joannah and Dad, Peter, cut the ribbon dressed in old style Caymanian costumes.

Chloe, Naomi and Asher with their Mom, Joannah and Dad, Peter, cut the ribbon dressed in old style Caymanian costumes.

A section of the craft shop.

A section of the craft shop.

This visitor is very elated with these paintings.

This visitor is very elated with these paintings.

Invitees at the opening of the craft store.

Invitees at the opening of the craft store.

Mrs. Supriya Singh-Bodden (center).

Mrs. Supriya Singh-Bodden (center).

Handmade Opening 17.jpg

Caricom Diplomatic Corp pledges support for Mental Health Conference in Cuba

Founder of the Guyana Foundation, Mrs. Supriya Singh-Bodden addressed a gathering of Ambassadors from numerous Caribbean Countries last evening, 15th November, in Havana, Cuba. She presented to them some background on the work of the Guyana Foundation and explained the recent collaboration of a Mental Health Conference between the Guyana Foundation and The University of Medical Sciences in Ciego De Avila. The purpose of the upcoming conference in January 2018  is to deal with alcohol addiction, domestic abuse, child abuse and suicide.

Mrs. Singh-Bodden made it clear that this event will not just be another talk shop, but will see these highly accomplished professionals assisting afterwards with the preparation of material that will be used during groundwork in the villages. This is easily understandable and is all in an effort to reach those persons who are suffering in silence and cannot find a way to reach out for help. She further encouraged these Ambassadors to ensure that in their own countries they put mental health on the front burner.

Unfortunately, in delivering her presentation, she said that we live in a world where funny cartoons can no longer be the normal diet of childhood; that was good in a simpler world. In order to successfully navigate our troubled world, we have a duty and a responsibility to give our children serious coping skills from a young age. Using as many tools as possible, cartoons with a purpose, apps with a purpose, child yoga with a purpose for example and tons of love attention and support.

At the end of the presentation, everyone in attendance pledged their support. Among some of the persons pledging their support were visitors to Cuba, not associated with the gathering, but overheard Mrs. Singh-Bodden presentation and approached her. One of those persons had experienced suicide in his family that has left its scars while another had experienced domestic violence and more.

This just shows the urgent relevance of these issues and the Guyana Foundation is willing to work along with appropriate organisations to address them.

Mrs. Supriya Singh-Bodden addressing a gathering of Ambassadors from numerous Caribbean Countries on Wednesday evening, 15th November 2017 in Havana, Cuba.

Mrs. Supriya Singh-Bodden addressing a gathering of Ambassadors from numerous Caribbean Countries on Wednesday evening, 15th November 2017 in Havana, Cuba.

Planning for Mental Health Conference in Cuba

Founder of the Guyana Foundation, Mrs. Supriya Singh-Bodden is currently in Havana, Cuba at the University of Medical Sciences Ciego De Avila, planning with the team all of the details for the second international conference on Suicide, Domestic Abuse, Child Abuse and Addiction to be held in January 2018.

The dates have been finalized from the 17th - 19th January. A full program will be released shortly for those who are interested in attending. All are welcome as we explore with accomplished professionals the complexity of these behaviors that affect all our societies.

This conference promises to be one of kind and hopefully will provide a clear understandable road map for us here in Guyana, in the region and in the world to follow.

Stay tune to our Facebook Page for all details on the Conference.

GF Cuba 5.jpg

Guyana Foundation signs historic MOU with Cuban University

It is with gratefulness that the Guyana Foundation announces the signing of an historic Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Medical Sciences of Ciego De Avila, Cuba.

The Foundation reached out to the University two years ago to request guidance and assistance in dealing with the mental health issues that face Guyana and, in particular, the work of the Guyana Foundation’s Sunrise Center.

In response, the University convened a conference last year bringing its best specialist in the areas of suicide, domestic abuse, addiction and child abuse. The Guyana Foundation participated and gained much from this encounter.

The relationship has now been further strengthened by the signing of this MOU which positions Supriya Singh-Bodden, Guyana Foundation’s Founder, on the organizing committee for the next International Conference to be convened in Cuba in early 2018.

This comes at a time when mental health issues is a major concern of governments around the world.  The conference will include contributors from other countries and will endeavor to share its deliberations and conclusions with the world.

The agreement is valid for a period of five years during which time there will be valuable transfers of expertise and information to tackle the social issues facing Guyana. Persons will be selected from key villages across Region 2 to access training in Cuba to become professional counsellors. Workshops and visits by Cuban professionals will follow.

Mrs. Singh-Bodden commented, “I have spent the last few days in Cuba among people that have now become an extended family to us , such love , such willingness to help. We are extremely grateful. The social ills, suicide, domestic abuse, child abuse, alcohol addiction are clearly out of control in Guyana. We have much to learn from Cuba to study the way they have been able to provide easily accessed support to citizens at all levels, averting the problems and the fatalities we face. We will make good use of this opportunity we have been given to collaborate with the University of Ciego De Avila. ”

Signing are Rector of the University, Angel Batista Diaz, with Supriya Singh Bodden, Guyana Foundation. Standing from right to left, Ambassador of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana to Cuba, Halim Majeed; Head of International Relations of the University, Lourdes Alvarez Lopez; Vice Rector of Department of Economics, Yordanys Borges Diaz; and Magalys Padilla Alvarez, Representative of Medical Services.

Signing are Rector of the University, Angel Batista Diaz, with Supriya Singh Bodden, Guyana Foundation. Standing from right to left, Ambassador of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana to Cuba, Halim Majeed; Head of International Relations of the University, Lourdes Alvarez Lopez; Vice Rector of Department of Economics, Yordanys Borges Diaz; and Magalys Padilla Alvarez, Representative of Medical Services.

Seated from left to right, Juana Maria Rodriguez Cepero, Director of International Relations for the Province of Ciego De Avila; Lourdes Alvarez Lopez, Dir Of International Relations of University. Standing from left to right are Mayte Perdomo Maldonado, PA to Ambassador of Guyana; Supriya Singh Bodden, Guyana Foundation; Nathaly Duenas Lopez, Coordinator of Psicoavila 2018; Magalys Padilla Alvarez, Rep of Medical Service of the University; Halim Majeed, Ambassador of Guyana; Angel Batista Diaz, Rector of the University; Julian Verona Hernandez, Representative of MINCEX in the province of Ciego De Avila.

Seated from left to right, Juana Maria Rodriguez Cepero, Director of International Relations for the Province of Ciego De Avila; Lourdes Alvarez Lopez, Dir Of International Relations of University. Standing from left to right are Mayte Perdomo Maldonado, PA to Ambassador of Guyana; Supriya Singh Bodden, Guyana Foundation; Nathaly Duenas Lopez, Coordinator of Psicoavila 2018; Magalys Padilla Alvarez, Rep of Medical Service of the University; Halim Majeed, Ambassador of Guyana; Angel Batista Diaz, Rector of the University; Julian Verona Hernandez, Representative of MINCEX in the province of Ciego De Avila.

Supriya Singh-Bodden with Nataly Duenas Lopez, Coordinator of Psycoavila 2018

Supriya Singh-Bodden with Nataly Duenas Lopez, Coordinator of Psycoavila 2018

The Guyana FUNdation Cricket Tour and Workshops

Krish Nath, a U.K. Ambassador for the Guyana Foundation, has organized a cricket tour to Guyana to promote mental wellness. He has travelled to Guyana with a team of mental health professionals from the United Kingdom who will be playing cricket matches around the country under the theme, “Healthy Body, Healthy Mind” in aid of the work of the Guyana Foundation.

The team is currently in the Essequibo Islands and on the Essequibo Coast and all is going very well. Cricket matches will also be played in Tuchen, West Demerara; Enmore on the East Coast of Demerara; Port Mourant and Bath Settlement at Berbice; with the final match being played at Everest Cricket Ground in Georgetown.

There will also be table tennis and golf matches along with seminars and workshop sessions which will be used to demonstrate to the young and older adults that an active and healkthy lifestyle can lead to a more rewarding and longer life.

The Guyana Foundation welcomes the team and wishes to thank them very much for coming.

Information for Mr. Krish Nath

Information for Mr. Krish Nath

Cricket Tour 1.jpg
Cricket Tour 2.jpg

We are grateful for donations... Thank You!

On Friday 22nd September 2017, one of our donor, Ms. Francis Yvonne Jackson travelled all the way from Chicago in the USA to distribute the contents of ten (10) barrels she sent to the Guyana Foundation at our Sunrise Center on the Essequibo Coast. Distribution of clothing and other items was also done on the East Coast of Demerara.

Monique, a single mother of eight children, whom the Guyana Foundation assisted in collaboration with Food for the Poor to build a small house for her and her family, and who also benefitted from the kind doanation of Ms. Jackson, also appeared on our television programme in Essequibo.

The Guyana Foundation and Team wish to thank Ms. Jackson and her donors very much for remembering the less fortunate in Guyana.

Ms. Francis Yvonne Jackson with the Managing Director of the Guyana Foundation, Susan Isaacs.

Ms. Francis Yvonne Jackson with the Managing Director of the Guyana Foundation, Susan Isaacs.

Volunteers helping to unpack and sort out the barrels.

Volunteers helping to unpack and sort out the barrels.

Volunteers helping to sort out clothing and shoes among other items.

Volunteers helping to sort out clothing and shoes among other items.

Monique with Ms. Francis Yvonne Jackson

Monique with Ms. Francis Yvonne Jackson

Communities are in crisis; urgent action needed by the relevant authorities NOW!

The Guyana Foundation wishes to urgently call on the Ministries of Public Health, Social Protection and Public Security to make urgent and bolder efforts to safeguard citizens in communities around Guyana. The recent crimes of child rape, familial homicide are clear indicators that all is not well across Guyana and it will continue and get worse.

The counselling work we have been conducting in Essequibo alone tells us that the mental state of the people is extremely fragile. We offer free counselling six days a week at our center and assist with counselling at the Suddie hospital. Typically that counselling gives psycho-social support, counselling for depression, having suicidal thoughts and counselling for survivors of suicide.

Each case is confidentially logged according to gender and age. We are at liberty to say to the public that the numbers are increasing steadily. It has forced us to strengthen our resolve to deal with these issues by going door to door in communities in Region #2. We can no longer wait for persons to come to us. That is how bad it is. We do not have the capability to blanket the region because we are a non-profit organization. We have engaged the television station to reach out for volunteers, the response has been good. We started our walkabouts in Charity and that work will continue from village to village.

We have also been making efforts to network with representatives in the region from the various Ministries. This is still in a fledgling state. The personnel and the resources attributed to this region in particular are woefully inadequate.  The framework within which these Ministries that have been functioning for so many years need to be improved urgently to meet the changing needs in the communities.

We have found that persons with suicidal thoughts do not as a rule present themselves to a hospital or police station. Mothers who are suspecting family members of child molestation are afraid for their own lives from domestic abuse; they do not head to the police station or the hospital, and they continue to suffer in silence until there is a fatality. We then read about it in the newspapers and on social media.

We have conducted workshops with health workers and police cadets to share whatever knowledge we have and how to deal with some of these social ills. We were alarmed that some of our first responders enquired how they could get counselling since many of them had suicidal thoughts. What this tells us is that to bring healing to our communities, pinned down by poverty for so many years, we have to work together.

There are countries that can help us and are willing to; there are other international NGO’s that can bring their resources and experience to Guyana to assist us. The religious bodies, Christian, Muslim, Hindu and others are willing to help if they are given the right signals from these Ministries.

Moreover, the people of Guyana are sickened by what is going on. How have we fallen to the level where children being sodomized, women and children being beaten to death, young men and women ingestion poisons to die is the stuff that fills our news reports?

We are calling on these Ministries to work together to come up with a battle plan as to how they intend to lift up our communities to stop this senseless loss of lives. Make your plans public, people want to know, people want to help. The Guyana Foundation is willing to assist in any way possible.

We will continue to strengthen and expand our work in the communities and we invite citizens to join us in our work.

Supriya Singh-Bodden, CCH, Founder, Guyana Foundation

Supriya Singh-Bodden, CCH, Founder, Guyana Foundation

Supriya Singh-Bodden, CCH, Founder, Guyana Foundation

Guyana Sunrise Center now collaborates to fight suicide

Published in Kaieteur News, Wednesday 6th September 2017

The fight against suicide in Region Two is continuing. The Guyana Sunrise Centre yesterday established an official networking system with key stakeholders.

Participants of the workshop take a time out for a group picture, representatives of Social Protection centre in chairs.

The Centre, which is headed by the Guyana Foundation, has been battling suicide and other social issues ever since its establishment last year. Determined to fight the battle against Social Issues with an even greater effect, the centre has now collaborated with key Organisations on the Essequibo Coast.

Yesterday’s workshop which was held at the Centre’s Zorg en Vluygt address, was well attended by various Community Leaders, the Ministry of Social Protection, Religious groups and other organizations. As the three-hour workshop unfolded, participants voiced their concerns on suicide, applauding the Guyana Foundation for its networking initiative.
Participants reinforced their commitment to network with the Centre, even as ideas to combat suicide were exchanged.

Founder of the Guyana Foundation, Mrs. Supriya Singh-Bodden, explained that it’s her hope to sustain the networking system, so as to reduce the suicide rate in Region Two.
Mrs. Singh-Bodden explained, “The battle will be more effective if we work with all organizations in the Region. Only then can we meet as many people as possible. We shouldn’t be working in separate areas, and ultimately if we’re serving the people we need to serve them together.”

“The biggest weakness is that organizations work separately from each other. As a result, they do not achieve their objective on time and even more so efficiently.”
The Networking system will ensure that persons are referred to an organization designated to handling their social issues.

In explaining how the referral procedure works Mrs. Singh-Bodden said, “There are times when we may come across an underage child who may be sexually molested. The networking system will now enable us to make a report to the relevant organization in the quickest way possible. This organisation will then handle the issue professionally using less time.”

The centre was established as a community centre that offers free skills training courses and counseling, six days a week. Ms Supriya Singh-Bodden said that since the centre’s establishment in 2016, hundreds of individuals have benefitted from counseling.

“The experience has been extremely good and the number going forward has increased. We’re about to relocate to even larger premises because we have more courses starting shortly. We have counselled many and we hope to reach them on a door-to-door basis in the community to raise awareness about mental health and child protection issues.”
(Romario Blair)

Participants of the workshop take a time out for a group picture, representatives of Social Protection at centre in chairs.

Participants of the workshop take a time out for a group picture, representatives of Social Protection at centre in chairs.

Workshop session

Workshop session

Senior Counsellor of the Sunrise Center heads to the UK

Senior Counsellor of the Sunrise Center, Mr Haimraj Hamandeo left on Friday 21st July to travel to the UK. He will be representing the Guyana Foundation at the invitation of the British Association of Cognitive and Behavioural Psychotherapies, BABCP, the lead organization for CBT in the UK and Ireland.

We wish him well since he has done a lot of preparation for the conference. He will be discussing the mental health challenges that Guyana faces and in particular highlight the work of the Sunrise Center and other mental health initiatives of the Guyana Foundation. Coming out of this conference, we look forward to networking with other mental health professionals, opening up avenues for further collaboration. Haimraj will certainly improve his knowledge on this subject allowing our work to be more effective.

Haimraj Hamandeo, senior counselor of the Sunrise Center in session at the BABCP U.K. Conference on mental health. He is seen here standing in front of the poster board on the Guyana Foundation.

Haimraj Hamandeo, senior counselor of the Sunrise Center in session at the BABCP U.K. Conference on mental health. He is seen here standing in front of the poster board on the Guyana Foundation.

Guyana Foundation workshops on mental health and empowerment

The Guyana Foundation has begun a series of workshops on mental health and empowerment at its Sunrise Center at Zorg-en-Vlygt of the Essequibo Coast. These workshops are organized in collaboration with the William James College, Center for Multicultural and Global Mental Health, (http://www.williamjames.edu/) which is based in the US. The team is led by faculty members Drs., Natalie A Cort, Phd; Jill Bloom, Phd; Elana Wolkoff, Phd and a team of students from the college.

Some of the programmes that will be offered are Empowering children workshop, Understanding and preventing suicide in Guyana, A gatekeepers Training workshop, Empowering women and girls, Gender based violence workshop, Healing yoga, Expressive arts activities, among others.

We are truly honored that the college has asked to collaborate with us and we know that many persons will benefit from these workshops, including members of the Guyana Police Force. It is already oversubscribed. The Guyana Foundation hopes to explore other avenues of collaboration in the near future with the college.

The William James College team is here we start our workshops on mental health and empowerment.

The William James College team is here we start our workshops on mental health and empowerment.

A few wonderful and highly accomplished ladies on the William James team conducting workshops in Essequibo at our Sunrise Center.

A few wonderful and highly accomplished ladies on the William James team conducting workshops in Essequibo at our Sunrise Center.

Some photos on the workshops on mental health/suicide/empowerment today, Wednesday 27th July 2017. ...many persons are benefitting from their expertise in this area, including members from the police force.

Some photos on the workshops on mental health/suicide/empowerment today, Wednesday 27th July 2017. ...many persons are benefitting from their expertise in this area, including members from the police force.

Many persons are benefiting from their expertise in this area, including members of the Guyana Police Force.

Many persons are benefiting from their expertise in this area, including members of the Guyana Police Force.