Min. of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell, Monday described the donation of ten sewing machines for use in the sewing programmes at the Bain and Grant’s Town and Centreville Urban Renewal Centres as a “significant mechanism” in the promotion of entrepreneurial opportunities within the urban communities.
The donation was made by the Over-the-Hill Community Development Partnership Initiative (OTHCDPI), Office of the Prime Minister, to: “help create employment, entrepreneurial and other opportunities” for persons residing in the Over-the-Hill Communities.” The Handing Over Ceremony was attended by, Mrs. Patricia Minnis, Office of the Spouse of the Prime Minister. The Social Services Minister asked one favour of the officials from the OTHCDPI: “That this will not just be New
Providence-centric and so I need you to go back to your donors (because) we are going to need additional machines as we want to ensure that residents in all of those areas in which Urban Renewal Centres are located, including our Family Islands, also benefit from these types of opportunities.”
Min. Campbell said the collaboration between the OTHCDPI and Urban Renewal is an example of the kind of positive partnership the Ministry welcomes in order to ensure the social and economic development of the various Bahamian communities. “This is what I perceive to be a growing and budding relationship and partnership,” Minister Campbell said. “This is the kind of collaboration that we need at the ground level that will touch people where they are and help them to get where they need to be. This partnership is significant in so many ways.
The Over-the-Hill Development Initiative is focused on empowering the residents of these areas, is focused on improving the environment and focused on putting in place the skills-building mechanisms that are necessary for greater independence,and all of those things complement what we do in Social Services and Urban Development on a daily basis.
“It’s a partnership that was meant to be. If we can provide the requisite skills-building opportunities that would create employment opportunities; that will create opportunities for them to become self-employed, that will help to empower our people to a greater degree of independence and at the same time empower some of our clients to the point where they will no longer need to be on our assistance programme, that is a positive and is what social and/or urban development is about,”
Minister Campbell added. Minister Campbell said the development is also in line with the Government of The Bahamas’ push towards creating more micro and small business enterprises in-country that will help to: “diversify and drive the Bahamian economy.” The Over-the-Hill Community Development Partnership Initiative is scheduled to initiate a number of training opportunities for residents of the various Over-the-Hill, or Urban communities, in technical and vocational areas such as sewing, barbering, cosmetology, nail technician, hairdressing,
auto mechanics, plumbing, carpentry and plumbing.
Min. Campbell said Ministry, and Urban Renewal officials are committed to working closely with the OTHCDPI to ensure that persons who are receiving social assistance from the Department of Social Services, are also given opportunities to participate in the skills-building training programmes.
“There is budgetary allocation in the 2020/2021 National Budget to
facilitate, to accommodate, to assist persons in their entrepreneurial
pursuits, “Minister Campbell said.
“The money is waiting for them. We need to ensure that they have the requisite skills training to be able to take advantage of these opportunities and so this is also complementing the entire programme of ensuring that we create more and more small businesses that will help to diversify and drive our economy. “You would note that earlier, the Prime Minister (Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert A. Minnis) would have given an order restricting the importation of masks (in the ongoing fight to reduce the community spread of COVID-19) and there was some grumbling about it, but that was with the view of protecting what he saw as a budding industry.
Today, a number of families are being supported by mothers, aunts, and grandmothers who are making these same masks and so this sharing of these sewing machines is timely because it will provide us with yet another opportunity to assist those persons who only require the requisite training,” Minister Campbell added. Ms. Samita Ferguson, Executive Manager, Over-the-Hill Community Development Partnership Initiative, also applauded the collaboration. “It is our honour and pleasure on behalf of the initiative to present these ten sewing machines that will better the community; better individuals who
are at a job loss, individuals who need to be impacted by developing their craft,” Ms. Ferguson added.