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.

Hand Made With Love

Founder of the Guyana Foundation, Mrs. Supriya Singh-Bodden has set up a company in the Cayman Islands that is called "Hand Made With Love."

The store outlet for this company is located at Crown Sq. on the island. Orders of leather slippers, handbags, belts, wallets, small leather items, baskets, and pottery have been imported from Guyana. These items have already arrived on the island and the shop is slated to open in September. This has assisted craft makers and artists in Guyana greatly and will continue. Fabrics made by the ladies at our Sunrise Center was ordered and sent to the shop as well. It is intended that these items and more will be sold to the cruise ship tourists which is a vibrant industry.

In an effort to give back to the Cayman Islands for all of the assistance and generosity of its people toward the work Mrs. Singh-Bodden is doing in Guyana, she has arranged to set up a tannery in Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison, Grand Cayman. Mr. Collin Bollers, a Guyanese, is a consultant on the project. He is presently in the Cayman Islands with the Managing Director of the Guyana Foundation, Ms. Susan Isaacs for the first workshop with the prisoners. Supriya , Susan, and Collin will conduct the workshops over a period of three days with different batches of prisoners. Meanwhile, Joannah Bodden a native of the Cayman Islands has joined the team to make this project a reality. The tannery is currently under construction.

On Wednesday 19th July, the team was visited by the entire Cayman Islands Press Corp who was able to see for the first time some of the items that have come from Guyana, giving them an idea of how skills training can benefit the inmates positively.

From Left are Managing Director of the Guyana Foundation, Ms. Susan Isaacs, Mr. Collin Bollers, Founder Mrs. Supriya Singh-Bodden and Ms. Joannah Bodden.

From Left are Managing Director of the Guyana Foundation, Ms. Susan Isaacs, Mr. Collin Bollers, Founder Mrs. Supriya Singh-Bodden and Ms. Joannah Bodden.

Handbags

Handbags

Leather Slippers

Leather Slippers

Baskets

Baskets

Place Mats

Place Mats

Peer Education Training

On Saturday 3rd and Saturday 10th June, a group of students from Queen’s University in Canada conducted a Peer Education Training programme at the Sunrise Center at Zorg-en-Vlygt on the Essequibo Coast. Known as the Queen's Health Outreach (QHO), they have been coming to Guyana since 1989. The student-run volunteer organization conducts interactive sessions with youths to promote the values of health and education. Queen’s Health Outreach (QHO) visits Guyana for seven weeks every spring.

Each year a batch of students visits Kingston, Ontario, communities in Northern Canada, Kenya, Belize and Guyana. Guyana was chosen years ago due to a study on developing nations, Rebecca McElroy, the Programme Director explained.

The group focuses mainly on the three sub-disciplines of health (physical, mental, and sexual). There are 40 peer educators in the QHO. The peer educators conduct the interactive sessions that range from psychology, to global development, to life sciences. The QHO has weekly educational sessions all year around to train the volunteers.

Some topics discussed in the interactive sessions are abuse, suicide, depression, peer pressure, anatomy, healthy relationships, drugs and alcohol.

The Organization is fully sponsored through fund raiser initiatives and in the past Scotia Bank has aided in sponsorship.

Managing Director of the Sunrise Center, Ms. Miriam Hinds-Roberts (left) and Madonna Adams (right) is seen here with some of the students of Queen's University during one of their training sessions at the Center in Zorg-en-Vlygt.

Managing Director of the Sunrise Center, Ms. Miriam Hinds-Roberts (left) and Madonna Adams (right) is seen here with some of the students of Queen's University during one of their training sessions at the Center in Zorg-en-Vlygt.

Guyana Foundation Mental Health Support Group Page

Dr. Latchman Narain who runs the Toronto Anger Management Center in Canada offered to set up this page to give counselling and support and to bring a clearer understanding to mental health issues. Judging from the ongoing cases of suicide and abuse that ended fatally in the past month alone, our work in raising awareness of mental health issues is of vital importance, so we must increase our efforts.

Please spread the word about this Group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/123996471497370/, if you think it can be helpful to persons who are at risk. Sometimes a person's ability to talk to someone can save a life.

This group aims to address the needs of members of the Guyana Foundation who are interested in promoting mental health in Guyana. The Foundation, over the past five years, has made considerable progress in this regard as evidenced by the establishment of a mental health center (Sunrise Center) at Zorg-en-Vlygt on the Essequibo Coast and another to be soon opened at Parfait Harmonie, on the West Bank of Demerara.

While we are interested in addressing different social problems rooted in mental health issues, one of our focus is on suicide because Guyana continues to have among the highest suicide rates in the world. The posts herein will describe different aspects of mental health and mental illness that would seek to identify symptoms, causes and treatment methods, as far as possible. We are aware that mental health issues have to be considered holistically with emphasis on its behavioral and cultural context.

This group is aligned with the Anger Management Centre of Toronto, Inc., a professional counselling centre located in Toronto,Canada, which you can view at www.amct.ca and www.parprogram.ca,

If you have any comments, please feel free to share without the fear of judgement. Our main task is to help each other to live happier, fuller lives, to problem-solve and be resilient in the face of stresses associated with modern day living.

Dr. Latchman has trained many volunteers here in Guyana for us. We will be calling on these volunteers to step forward now to work with him on this page and to prepare for another mental health workshop later on in the year. We need our trained volunteers to assist with the creation of a special mental health newsletter to be sent out quarterly.

Our Senior Counsellor at the Sunrise Center, Haimraj Hamandeo will be leaving shortly for the UK. He will represent the Guyana Foundation at the British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies Conference.

As we open more Sunrise Centers we need trained Counsellors to support persons in the various communities. There is still much work to be done. Please continue to support our work.

 

Dr. Latchman Narain

Dr. Latchman Narain