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Screen_Shot_2014-05-13_at_7.49.56_PMThe Women’s Department in Belize has worked with hundreds of women in many aspects of their lives. Among their efforts is assisting women with economic empowerment that is achieved through several different skills training. This morning, thirty-one women graduated from one such program and here is a look at what their experience has been.


Dalila Ical - Reporter

The women’s department has successfully completed another economic empowerment training for women in the Orange Walk District. Thirty-one women took the cosmetology class for a period of fourteen weeks. Makeesha Swazo is the Women Development Officer for the Orange Walk branch.

Makeesha Swazo – Women Development Officer

“It has to do with nail designs, manicure, pedicures and acrylics, it is an economic empowerment program that serves to motivate women and give them the skills so that would be able to go out in the work force and be able to open their own small business and make their own monies for themselves and their families.”

The training was not solely on cosmetology. There were several other topics covered during the course of the training which the women said they found more than helpful.

Cindy Sosa

“En este curso aprendemos muchas cosas como la higiene de la mujer, como protegerse y sobre todo aprendimos como hacer pedicure, manicure y acrylics.”

Dalila Ical – Reporter

“Es algo que le gusto?”

Cindy Sosa

“Si me gusto porque a mi gusta hacerlo y ya había venido con miss Erika y no fue nada duro para mí y ahora mis planes pues es ponerlo en práctica y ayudarme a mí misma.”

Shanini Tillett

“Yo soy la primera vez que estoy aquí y nunca había estudiado esto pero es algo igual que me gusta y espero aprender más y pues a trabajar en mi casa para mí misma.”

For Kimberly Westby, meeting new people was fun but the best part was the additional knowledge she gained by participating.

Kimberly Westby

“What we learned was how to budget when you open your company and different woman’s’ rights and stuff like that and what was interesting was that the different topics that they brought to us was all that in the future that we will be leading to understand from now so it was basically helpful for us.”

Dalila Ical –Reporter

“Are you planning to open your own place?”

Kimberly Westby

“Yes, am planning to open a saloon and am trying to open it in Orange Walk here because what happen is that in Belize is different because we have a lot of challenge there but in Orange Walk it seems that we need to open some business like that for women to be pampered everyday.”

The work by the women’s department in the community is not widely popular on the media but it appears to be with women within the district.

Makeesha Swazo – Women Development Officer

“We had very good response, actually we had about fifty four applicants but we were only able to select like forty of them and at the end of the day we had thirty one graduating today.”

The economic empowerment skills training is one that has been executed by the department for years and the results have been good, says Swazo.

Makeesha Swazo – Women Development Officer

“Some of them already had the skill, some of them have their own business and some of them are planning to open their own business and some of them are also planning to work for other people so it is a success.”

And for these women, it is more than just training, even for the trainers like Erika Vega who connected with her students and had one last word of advice on their graduation day.

Erika Vega – Trainer

“No fue para mí un trabajo si no un placer y un gusto haberles conocido y lo único que les quiero decir desde lo más profundo de mi corazón es que nunca dejen de aprender, nunca dejen de estudiar.  Mejoren cada técnica que aprendieron conmigo y sigan cada día más preparándose, el ser humano nunca deja de aprender.”

Women between the ages of fifteen and fifty-four took part in the training. The women’s department is preparing for another round of trainings which are organized and designed on a needs base within the community.

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