In an emotional certificate-handing ceremony, about 45 women celebrated having completed a three-week program that had them improving on their self-confidence and empowering them with life tools in an effort to assist them in personal development; the program even allows for the women to receive a small grant to help them on their goals.
The San Pedro Town Council made available the Project BA 1 which is a training seminar targeting victims of domestic violence and human trafficking in order to assist them in bettering their lives. Single mothers were prime participants of the seminar that included courses for the women to learn necessary life planning skills and personal development. The project seeks the reduction of violence against women and trafficking.
“There are a lot of big grants out there and if we do not use them, they just go back to the government,” stated Mayor Daniel Guerrero. “We much take full advantage of this and provide these useful seminars to the people on this island who will benefit from them tremendously.”
During the final gathering, as the women gathered to receive their certificate of completion, most were bursting with smiles while others were holding back strong emotions as they felt accomplished, proud and gifted with skills that will help them make better choices in their lives. In addition to lectures to prepare them for social integration, the seminar also equipped the women with business skills. Some of the participants will qualify for a grant to expand an existing business or develop a new one from the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA).
Seminar participants Sylvia Lopez and Nicole Polonio give account of their experiences
Carolina Gonzalez extends her gratitude for the opportunity to particiapte in the seminar
“They gave us hope and all we needed was a little push,” commented Carolina Gonzalez a participant of the seminar, while shedding some tears. “They though us to think with a business mind, to be entrepreneurs. I cry because I really mean what I am saying, as I am here to learn new things. I am very thankful for this opportunity given to me and all these women present here today.”
The seminar was hosted by the Belize Training and Employment Center (BTEC), a unit under the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAID), in collaboration with the Women’s Department of Belize and the Central American Integration System (SICA). It kicked off at the San Pedro Town Council conference room on May 18, 2015.
The program includes four phases and it is expected that the first group enrolled will continue through all of them, allowing the women to be more independent and not fall back into violence and exploitation. This same program is being implemented in Caye Caulker.
For further information on the project contact Jorge Aldana at the San Pedro Town Council on Barrier Reef Drive.