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The political climate in Guyana over the past year has undoubtedly sparked a rise in racial tension. That, tied with the COVID-19 pandemic and other prevalent social issues, have taken a toll on young people here.
Realising this, Youth Advocate, Dennis Glasgow recently launched “Project Ubuntu” to empower Guyanese youths, and better equip them with the necessary tools to cope through these trying times.
“As we look around our country and the world, violence and crime seem to have taken control of our lives and abuse seems to have become a common fixture when dealing with interpersonal relationships. Many of our young people were forced to adapt to life within a pandemic, with added layers of stress and vulnerabilities. As such, I pulled together “Project Ubuntu”. Ubuntu is an African Zulu word meaning “I am, because you are”. And the philosophy surrounding Ubuntu, is so profound especially as we deal with adjusting to life during this global pandemic where interactions are limited. People need to feel needed and supported, and people need to feel connected to others,” Glasgow told Village Voice News in an interview.
Project Ubuntu, he further explained, is a one-day retreat for persons 16-25 years old, geared towards kick- starting an internal dialogue on growth and self-development among participants. It covers five steps, namely: Self and Values, Life Skills, Interpersonal Communication, Conflict Resolution & Anger Management and Mental Health.
“As someone with over a decade in civil society leadership, youth development and working with vulnerable youth across Guyana; I pulled this program together after reflecting on my years of training and certification in communications and in facilitating life skills development workshops,” Glasgow shared.
The young man said that he developed this five-step program because he wanted to give back and it is by no means a “fix all” but a practical conversation starter among peers.
“The launch two Saturdays ago was a massive success and 15 young people benefited from what they have described as the best experience they’ve had in a long time. The session was held at The Rs Farm in Yarrowkabra and this time our resource person was Kayshell Jennings who co-facilitated the session with me… Our next session is July 24th, then August and possibly another in September. My aim is to meet 100 young people by December,” he said.
One of the participants from the pilot Project, Hanani Ben Lewi told this publication that it was an enlightening experience.
“It’s been a while since young people were able to congregate and share ideas. The decision to take us away from Georgetown and to a strange environment, afforded us the chance to bond and be more open with each other. The facilitators were well learnt and spoken. It was more of a conversation and not a lecture and that in my estimation made it a more successful venture. The messages of S.M.A.R.T goals, communication, problem solving and mental health were well delivered and well received. Project Ubuntu is a venture that the young people of Guyana thirst for. A project for young people by young people,” Ben Lewi said.
Glasgow explained that priority will be given to persons already vaccinated and vulnerable young people.
“As we observe COVID-19 social distancing and mask wearing protocols, I am offering a unique outdoor session with a blend of physical activity, creativity and unity. This program does come at a cost of $6,000GYD which covers transportation, meals and workshop materials. Persons can sponsor a participant(s) by sending me a message and then paying through MMG,” he said.