San Juan/Laventille Corporation celebrates young women

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly taking part in the San Juan/Laventille Corporation Sip and Paint, the theme Colours of Courage, hosted on March 6 at the Jeffrey Reyes Building on 1st Street, San Juan, for four female students in the district to commemorate International Women’s Day on March 8. – Photo by Joey Bartlett

Young women from various schools in the San Juan/Laventille area were treated to a day of sipping and painting as the San Juan/Laventille Regional Corporation held a Colours of Courage event in celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD), which takes place on March 8.

Councillor for the Success Laventille area Adanna Griffith-Gordon welcomed the form four girls on March 6 at the Jeffrey Reyes Building on 1st Street, San Juan. She addressed them as queens and princesses, and said the theme goes hand in hand with the event, as every stroke on their canvas represents their courage.

The young women was tasked with recreating a painting by the corporation’s graphic designer, Kimoi Yuk Que, which represented unity and love.

“Every colour, every paint, signifies something about women, society and life. And in case anyone was wondering, they’re sipping on a non-alcoholic beverage,” Griffith-Gordon said.

She said the event aimed to celebrate and recognise the struggles of women across all business and social sectors, saying it is important to celebrate because it has not always been.

Griffith-Gordon said women have broken most of the glass ceiling, but acknowledged that it still exists in some areas.

“We have to ensure that we work together to break the remaining ceiling. Each one of you has the courage and strength to press against the remaining glass until it is broken.”

Speaking with Newsday, Griffith-Gordon said the corporation has always looked outside the box when brainstorming ideas for something that will capture and connect with students.

“The in thing right now is sip and paint, and in keeping with IWD, using the different colours to represent different races and coming together.”

She said there are 12 secondary schools in the district, and all were invited.

Griffith-Gordon said each pupil represents a different background and when they come together, they create a beautiful picture.

“We want to encourage students to paint. Most of them are afraid of it because they have never done it. This event is about overcoming fears. Strengthening what’s inside, painting your inner picture – they don’t have to be perfect, they just need to take a step forward. That’s what we want to inspire.”

Her hope is that the young women walk away understanding they can achieve more together than apart.

“This event embodies strength, courage and stepping from one challenge to the next with courage.”

San Juan/Laventille Corporation graphic artist Kimoi Yuk Que painting that was used for the corporation’s Sip and Paint event for form four female students in the district to commemorate International Women’s Day on March 8. – Joey Bartlett

Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, who gave a brief speech and, in keeping with the spirit of the event, also addressed the students as queens and princesses, said that on Friday (IWD), they should feel proud.

“It is one day the world take notice of its most important inhabitants, women.”

She stressed the importance of women sticking together, telling them they should not be afraid to speak to other women who have good advice to give.

“Im making that clarification, it must be a woman who has good advice to give. Sometimes women prefer to suffer in silence. Step away from that and know your problems are the same problems I may have.”

Gadsby-Dolly encouraged the students to talk to their teachers.

“If you’re having difficulties, speak to other women, your mother and your aunts. Let us stick together.”

Speaking with Newsday, San Juan North Secondary School student Nathalyia Fletcher said she was excited to be a part of the day’s festivities. But despite the celebratory nature of the event, Fletcher said more needs to be done to protect young girls and women. She said she would like to become a nurse, but admitted she was happy for the time away from indoor classes.

Precious Mathews, a Mt Hope Seconday School student, was all smiles before being seated at her paint station, saying she was happy to be at the event and looked forward to a day filled with new experiences and fun.

Her wish for women? She said she loved being a young woman, but she says the country’s crime statistics are troubling. With a love for children, she intends to be a paediatrician.

Blanchisseuse Secondary School student Sapphire Delandro said she was looking forward to making new friends and would like to study cosmetology and accounting.

The schools participating were Mt Hope Secondary, Barataria North Secondary, Blanchisseuse Secondary, Success Laventille Secondary and Morvant Laventille Secondary School.