Good morning: First Lady, Mrs. Ingrid Bouterse-Waldring, Ministers and Permanent Secretaries of the government, members of the private and civil society sector, special invitees, members of the media.
I am very pleased to be here today bringing greetings from the U.S. government to you all and extending congratulations to the graduating youth. Today, after receiving five weeks of basic life skills and pre-employment skills training, these 75 young men and women are now ready to go forward, utilizing the skills they have acquired to pursue more stable and productive lives. Their KARI YU! Youth to Youth facilitators will mentor and guide them at the beginning of this new phase. I will be waiting to hear more about their experiences, how they cope with challenges, and how they succeed, as they pursue their personal development plans and full time jobs.
Utilizing the Youth-to-Youth approach, the KARI YU program demonstrates that youth can be agents of change and contribute to a socially inclusive, economically competitive society. These youth, their KARI YU! facilitators, and the entire program team, will be looking to employers -including many of you here today – to invest in these graduates. Give them an opportunity to utilize their newly acquired skills and continue to develop. Give them an opportunity to channel their talent and youthful energy to contribute to the success of your businesses, organizations, and ministries.
To the graduating young men and women: congratulations for successfully completing your training and making yourselves more marketable to employers. There will be challenges, and at times setbacks, as you pursue your goals. Remember, however, that your training gave you the tools to confront those obstacles head on and to succeed.
You will not be making this journey alone. Your KARI YU Youth Facilitators, for now, will be an important resource for support and guidance. Success is not something one achieves alone; it requires the help and support of a community. Your success will inspire our partners at all levels – from government to the private sector to individual citizens.
I call on these partners to reaffirm their support for programs such as this, and to incorporate them within the training and educational institutions of Suriname. The US Embassy, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is proud to fund both the Kari Yu! Program and A Ganar program since their inception. Kari Yu’s youth to youth approach empowers young people to affect change from within their own peer groups. Since 2011, A Ganar has utilized an effective and proven sport‐based approach to reach, motivate, and facilitate skills acquisition by youth.
Both programs, through their unique and innovative techniques, have built pathways to employment, entrepreneurship or a return to formal education for youth in Suriname. Our local partners are now making invaluable contributions in working with, guiding and supporting, both the KARI Yu and A Ganar programs and youth graduates. We look forward to building upon that work to find creative ways to increase opportunities for youth to find work, build their communities, and develop Suriname and the Caribbean region.
I am happy to join you today in celebrating your accomplishments and I wish you every success in your future endeavors. Thank You.