Single mothers receive $1.5M business grant from First Lady

In observance of International Women’s Day today, First Lady Mrs Arya Ali handed over three grants totaling $1.5 million to three single mothers to fund their start-ups.

Those who received the grants were 38-year-old Loveveol Cort of Anna Catherina, West Coast Demerara (WCD); 41-year-old Vernalinda Morgan of Pouderoyen, West Bank Demerara (WBD); and Shenelly Gale, 34, of Linden, Region 10.

The three women were participants in the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women’s HerVenture programme which is a platform that provides women with business development training.

This year, International Women’s Day is being observed under the theme “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress” and according to the First Lady, this is exactly what she intends to use her office to do.

“For me, it is not just about repeating slogans and hoping to inspire people and businesses to make investments in women. It is also about leading by example. So today, this contribution to these women is a demonstration of our commitment to continue investing in women to improve their social and economic status,” Mrs Ali said during a short handing over ceremony at her office.

The First Lady was keen to note that while a monetary contribution was being provided to fund their start-ups, technical support will also be provided to the women by business coaches Mr Keon Smith and Ms Upasna Mudlier of ActionCOACH.

Mrs Ali also encouraged the women to use the opportunity provided to them to positively impact the lives of other women and girls.

“Just as you all are benefitting from a gender-specific programme today, I hope you understand that you too have a responsibility to other women and girls; to inspire them and support them as best as you can,” the First Lady said.

The three women expressed gratitude for the support provided to them and made a commitment to the First Lady that they would work diligently to ensure their ventures were successful. Their progress will be assessed periodically by the coaches.

Apart from the business grants, 15 vulnerable women are currently on fully funded scholarships at the Carnegie School of Home Economics through a programme by the Office of the First Lady. (Press release from Office of the First Lady)