Heritage Committee honours Women with IWD Celebration

“I sense a strong shift in the agenda for change in Trinidad and Tobago. More and more women are taking on the concerns of their sisters with regard to Women’s Rights.”

Her Excellency Carla Hogan-Rufels, High Commissioner of Canada to Trinidad and Tobago noted this transformation in her keynote address at the Rio Claro Heritage Festival Committee’s Seminar on Gender and Development – Be Bold for Change. The Seminar, hosted on Thursday 23rd March, 2017, was held at the Community Development District Office – Nariva/Mayaro in Rio Claro.

Ms Hogan-Rufelds remarked “Women face a number of barriers including business financing and access to customers, balancing the ‘double burden’ of household work and paid work and workplace harassment. In spite of all this, women can and do succeed.”

Her keynote address was not only descriptive, but also prescribed some measures that could be taken locally to support women’s empowerment, “In Trinidad and Tobago, we can support women’s participation in policy making; support self-employed women through managerial, entrepreneurial and operational training and in rural communities improve access to financial service particularly to female farmers. When we invest in women there is always a multiplier effect that ripples outward to the wider community.”

The High Commissioner was selected as the featured speaker as she came with a wealth of experience in addressing gender and development issues – topics of focus for the Heritage Committee. Mr Rupert Gilead, Vice Chairman, Rio Claro Heritage Festival Committee, spoke about the rational for the day’s activity. “Today we are celebrating the observance of International Woman’s Day 2017. Our committee is guided by the Key Development Challenges in the Human Development Atlas. Our programmes are guided by the findings for this area including low literacy rates, high poverty rates and high teenage pregnancies. So this seminar is geared to raising awareness on the connection between Gender and Development.”

Also speaking at the activity was the Honourable Rushton Parray, Member of Parliament for Mayaro. Parray echoed similar views about the importance of the inclusion of women.
In this community, I would like us to focus on the 4 E’s: Education; Employment; E-Commerce and Edification. We must not only talk Gender Equality. We must act on it. If we strengthen our women in rural communities, we strengthen the family base.”

The ceremony closed with the Rio Claro Heritage Festival Committee honouring three women from the community for their outstanding work in the Rio Claro Community:
Cecelia Richardson – Contribution to Nursing, Community Outreach and Religious Activities
Lynn Rambharat – Contribution to Early Childhood Care, Education and Health and Wellness
Mc Cala Panchoo – Achievement in Education

The Rio Claro Heritage Festival Committee was established in 2015 as a continuation of the Rio Claro Centennial Celebrations. The Centennial Celebrations highlighted the 100th anniversary of the town of Rio Claro, which coincided with the arrival of the first train to Rio Claro in September 1914. The Committee is committed to promoting the best of their community with a focus on its history, youth, education and sustainable development. The Rio Claro Heritage Festival has been held annually for the past three years during the month of September with activities including a Book Fair and Film Festival.

Honorees at the Seminar for Gender and Development hosted by the Rio Claro Heritage Festival Committee: (L-R) Mr Rushton Parray – Member of Parliament, Mayaro stands with Ms Mc Cala Panchoo – Honouree; Mrs Cecelia Richardson – Honouree; Mrs Lynn Rambharat – Hounouree; Mr Omari Samuel – Supervisor I, Community Development Division – Nariva/Mayaro and Mr. Rupert Gilead, Vice Chairman, Rio Claro Heritage Festival Committee
Expression of Thanks: Mr Rupert Gilead – Member of the Rio Claro Heritage Festival Committee presents Ms Carla Hogan – Rufelds – High Commissioner of Canada to Trinidad and Tobago with a token of appreciation on Thursday 23rd March, 2017
‘Women can and do succeed:’ Her Excellency Ms Carla Hogan-Rufelds, High Commissioner of Canada to Trinidad and Tobago gives the Keynote Address at the Seminar of Gender and Development hosted at the Community Development District Office – Nariva Mayaro in Rio Claro