The Guyana Foundation Sunrise Center was formally opened on Saturday 29th October 2016 by the First Lady Mrs. Sandra Granger, H.E. President David Granger and Mrs. Seraji Sankar, matriarch of the Kayman Sankar family in Essequibo. The formal opening and graduation of thirty-four (34) students who successfully completed the pilot phase of the programme was held at the Center’s location, Lot 1 Zorg-en-Vlygt, Essequibo Coast.
In her address to the gathering of over 100 invitees, Founder of the Guyana Foundation, Mrs. Supriya Singh-Bodden, CCH, explained that the Sunrise Center is part of the Foundation’s on-going efforts to provide urgently needed training, counseling and support to individuals and families in need across Guyana.
The following services are available free of charge to residents of the surrounding areas. They are:
1. Professional counseling and mental health support services;
2. Holistic wellness activities; and
3. Skills training courses in various areas.
Most of the facilitators and mental health counselors are from the Essequibo Coast, in keeping with the Foundation’s desire for the Center to be grassroots based, staffed by individuals who understand the realities of the surrounding communities.
A three-month’s pilot phrase was successfully completed recently, and orders have already been secured from a leading fashion house in the Cayman Islands to purchase all pieces prepared by the Fabric Design course.
Mrs. Singh-Bodden further stated that 80% of the focus of the Guyana Foundation will now be directed to this area of work.
In explaining how the concept was developed, she posited, “What if we could position in villages across Guyana, a happy cheerful place where persons can go to make new friends, to smile, to laugh, to learn a new skill, to access professional counseling if the burden they are carrying is too heavy to bear? What if we could assist persons to network and to earn a living from the new skills they acquire? What if we give it the motto, “Hope for Tomorrow, Today, Together.” What if we could provide all of this free of charge? What if we name it the Sunrise Center so that we can touch lives in a positive way making people want to wake up, to live, to see another sunrise and a brighter future? Our first Sunrise Center in Zorg-en-Vlygt is just that place, hopefully with the support of businesses and individuals in and out of Guyana, we can open more of these centers. Please join us to make this a reality.”
In her feature address at the official opening ceremony, the First Lady said that it is a proud moment for the Foundation and for the people of Essequibo. She also said that it was felicitous that the Centre is opening as Guyana is celebrating Diwali - the Hindu festival of lights, which spiritually signifies the triumph of good over evil and the renewal of hope - as it will help to foster a new beginning for many persons in the Cinderella County.
“The name itself reflects the thought and planning which went into this Centre. The Guyana Foundation recognised a need and was determined to develop a holistic approach to address the issues which had been identified. These included depression and hopelessness, joblessness, and the need for empowerment of women and young people. What we have seen here is a sunrise - the symbolic dawn of a new day here on the Essequibo Coast. This is a day on which people can wake up to the promise of a difference in their lives. They know that regardless of gender, race, age, or religion, they can come to this Centre to meet their peers or seek counselling. They can share their thoughts and feelings about the things that affect their daily lives and perhaps, find the solution to some of [them],” Mrs. Granger said.