Mercy at Work in Guyana
By Sister Judith S.
Mercy Wings Vocational and Day Care Centre in Guyana was founded in 2000 to address the needs of teenage dropouts. Trainees receive remedial work in English and Math, study Adolescent Development, and learn a skill: Child Care and Care of the Elderly, Catering and Home Management, or General Construction.
Trainees receive a hot lunch each day and we provide a variety of extracurricular activities. We invite speakers to come and tell the students about their work. We also organize weekly rap sessions that give trainees an opportunity to learn to speak out and discuss areas in their lives that are of concern to them. All trainees have an opportunity to learn computer skills. Personal counseling, and home visits are available as needed.
A class was designed to assist parents of our trainees in becoming better parents. It considers different levels of development, styles of discipline, anger management, and more. One session that participants found especially helpful involved parents in talking about their own history and sharing this with their children, who then learned to appreciate that their parents also have their struggles.
Our students best express what the program means to them:
My experience at this school has changed my life and helped me to change the things that I can. If you want to achieve something, you have to work for it. I made a choice that I need to be different, I need to make my family proud. Only those who risk going far would know how far they can go. Thanks to Mercy Wings for making me a better person.
From Julianna Ellis’ comments at graduation 2011
I spent my year at Mercy Wings excited because I learned a lot of things in subjects like Adolescent Development which has changed my life in different ways, Catering where I learned to prepare snacks and food, and Computer Class. I got to learn a trade. I would encourage dropouts to come to this school.
From Edward Springer’s comments at graduation 2011
My work study experience in care for the elderly was really interesting. I got to interact with the elderly and see what their home was like. We were able to sit with them and they would tell us old time stories. They spoke to us like we were their own children. My Adolescent Development Class at Mercy Wings helped me to grow a lot in life and to build up my self-esteem.
-Shellisa Karim, class of 2011
My experience at Mercy Wings is challenging. Every day I come to school and I learn something new and helpful. I get to learn about child care and care for the elderly. The free lunch helps me because I wouldn’t be able to eat every day if I had to provide my own lunch, I love my school because it gives me a second chance and for that I am thankful.
-Darshini Persaud, class of 2011
I am Nameshwari Umrai, a trainee in the Child Care Department. When I first learned that I was coming to Mercy Wings I was very excited. I did not think I could learn a lot in one year, but I did. I learned about the habits and the life style of the human from conception to death. I also did Maths and learned a lot of sums that I did not know. In reading class I learned to read by sounding out swords by the letters; this I’ve learned well so I can now read and write. I also did ADP which taught me about myself and how to stand up for what I believe.