Our Story, By Us
< Current local time in Suriname – Paramaribo
PARAMARIBO–On Saturday, November 30th 2013, the A Ganar program, which is funded through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), graduated 142 youth who completed a comprehensive three-phased technical/ vocational and life skills training program and completed on-the-job training.
The program provides a second chance to school dropouts and other at-risk youth ages 16 to 24 and uses a team sports methodology to deliver life skills training. The Program is designed to combat youth unemployment.
The graduating youth were trained, mentored, counseled and guided through partnerships with five local foundations: Women’s Business Group, Stichting RUMAS, Pater Ahlbrinck Stichting, Stichting Vonzell and Stichting TANA. Over a seven to nine month period, the youth learned a variety of vocational skills such as administration (secretarial, office assistant), hospitality (culinary arts and serving techniques), welding, wood working, agriculture and elderly care.
PARAMARIBO–Monument Walking Guide Paramaribo, the newest publication by Vaco features descriptions of more than 40 monuments in the center of Paramaribo, all within walking distance and in sequential order. It contains background details such as that in 1750, the center of the current Domineestraat was one of the borders of the city of Paramaribo? And that the Valliant’s square arose after the city fire of 1821, as an open space to prevent flames from leaping over during fires. “It is very informative for locals as well as tourists. Finally a guide packed with information about these beautiful monuments,” Vaco writes in a press release .
The book features facts and many historic as well as architectural details about each monument in Paramaribo, as well as their current functions, accompanied by detailed illustrations. “The reader acquires an often unique ‘behind the scenes’ portrait of the monuments,” Vaco writes. The bilingual (Dutch/English) publication features a map on the back that takes the reader on a five-kilometer walking route. The publication also contains an introduction into the development of the city of Paramaribo. “Due to the handy format, the book is easy to bring along on a city walk.”
PARAMARIBO–The Anton de Kom University has awarded a posthumous Honorary Doctorate in the Humanities to the Surinamese poet, writer, nationalist and political activist Robin ‘Dobru’ Ravales who died in 1983. It is the first time in its 45 years of existence that the university has awarded a posthumous Honorary Doctorate.
On hand to accept it was Dobru’s widow, Yvonne Ravales-Resida. “This is justice in light of what he had been denied back then,” she said, to then present her own gift to the university. “At home there are boxes full of archival material. He scribbled his ideas even on cigarette cases. The Dobru Foundation is making this archive available to the University.” Her announcement was met with loud applause. Read more »
PARAMARIBO–Less than a few hundred signatures are still needed on a petition that was started to get the UNESCO to reconsider scrapping its Arts and Creativity program and Caribbean Arts Presenters Organization CaribNet is out to collect them. And with help from Suriname. CaribNet is circulating a petition, hinting that the Caribbean also stands to lose when this program is terminated. “We also ask you to contact the National Commissions of UNESCO within your own countries to express your urgent concern about the future of creativity as a priority within UNESCO programming, to seek their advice and to ask them to co-operate,” the organization writes in the petition.
Arts enthusiast Siegmien Staphorst supports the initiative. “My request is for you to support this call, so that it is clear that in Suriname there are also people who are for the preservation of arts and culture education,” she wrote in a call for support from her circles.
AMSTERDAM-As the 2013 Sinterklaas season approaches, discussions surrounding whether the Dutch tradition of the bearded do-gooder and his pitch-black helper Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) have a right to exist anymore are mounting again. Antillean activist Quincy Garrio, the most prolific opponent of the celebration in the Netherlands has resumed his calls that Zwarte Piet be given a different color, but was literally laughed off by a fellow guest in the popular talk show Pauw and Witteman. “Every year it’s the same nonsense,” writer Henk Westbroek sighed loudly during the TV program, disregarding all of Garrio’s explanations that Black people find the tradition racist.
But it seems the opposition is gaining ground. Ineke Strouken, the Director of the Center for Folk Culture in Utrecht said over the weekend that it is time for a conference about the sensitivity surrounding Zwarte Piet. “Sinterklaas is a tradition, and traditions can and do change, albeit slowly,” Strouken said on Saturday. She thus joined a rapidly growing movement that has for years urged a more sensitive approach to the Sinterklaas celebrations.
PARAMARIBO–A group of blind people and persons with poor eyesight gathered in the Hermitage Mall in Paramaribo on Friday October 11 to commemorate White Cane Day. White Cane Day also known as the International Day for the Blind is marked internationally on October 15, to provide a platform to highlight issues concerning the visually impaired, mobilize programs and obtain support for implementation.
White Cane Day was officially declared on October 15, 1970 by the World Blind Union. Because this year it falls on the same day as a religious holiday in Suriname, it was celebrated sooner. People came to the Hermitage Mall carrying white canes with red stripes, but there were also silver colored ones, fold-up canes and some had a small ball at the end; these canes are specifically designed to give their users a smoother feel of the ground.
Support Coordinator Jeanette Wee Wee has been with the ‘National Foundation Blind Care Suriname’ (NSBS) for ten years. She was helping out at the Mall with colleagues and members of the board. The public could gather information regarding the work of NSBS and there were braille typing demonstrations. Wee Wee said that the Louis Braille School, the only school in Suriname for the blind and visually impaired, has 14 pupils. Nowadays most of the pupils get integrated into the regular school system, with necessary guidance and material in braille.
PARAMARIBO–Photo journalists Ranu Abhelakh and Edward Troon have produced the first extensive photographic documentary of an ethno-cultural group in Suriname. ‘Beyond the Shopkeeper’s Counter; Images of Chinese Life in Suriname’, which will be launched on Wednesday October 16 2013, features over 280 photos that depict the lives of people of Chinese heritage in Suriname.
The photo book comes just a few days before Suriname commemorates 160 years of Chinese settlement. Troon and Abhelakh say in a press release that their photo book is unique, as it is the first Surinamese publication in English and Chinese. The authors say that their photos tell the stories of the people by themselves; their subjects are consistently pictured as Surinamese people.
PARAMARIBO–”This is probably the only deaf theatre group in Caricom”; Proud words from the director of the Deaf Association of Guyana, Sabine McIntoch last Saturday, when a group of hearing impaired took the stage during the final days of Suriname’s fantastic hosting of Carifesta XI.
It was the group’s second international performance. Although not that many people showed up on Saturday in theatre On Stage in Paramaribo, the few that came did appreciate what they witnessed. Who knew that hearing impaired people can play drums, in this case made from PVC tubes covered with goat skin.
According to McIntoch, it were the deaf students and their families who came up with the idea to try out performing arts to show that they too had talents.
KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent—A Caribbean based institute has set off a promotional drive to recruit and train climate activists from around the region. Carol Ann English, Marketing Consultant of the St. Vincent headquartered Richmondvale Academy on explained on Monday that the institute wants to train international climate activists and make individuals region wide more environmentally aware.
She said the Academy wants Caribbean people to be more conscious of the effects of global warming and climate change. At the courses “ordinary” people are trained to become climate activists who can spearhead possible ways to deal with the effects of these phenomenons. “We also focus on the need to sustain the environment and its natural resources. Our program is focused on a clean sustainable environment,” she said. The first advertisement inviting environmentally conscious people from St. Maarten to take part in the program appears on the left of our website.
The Academy has had students from Europe, Asia, North America, South America, and Africa, a few from St Vincent and from Guyana. “We are now seeking to have more students from the Caribbean since a sustainable environment is everyone’s business,” said English.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), invites entries for their World Food Day 2013 poster competition. The competition is open to children ages 5 to 17 years old and prizes will be awarded to the winners in three categories: ages 5-8, ages 9-12 and ages 13-17.
This year the theme for World Food Day is Healthy Food Systems – how we grow, process, package, transport, store, market, purchase and eat our food. Background information about the theme, including a short video, as well as contest rules and prizes can be found on the FAO website at www.fao.org/WFD-poster-contest. Participation from children of the Caribbean has traditionally been low and FAO’s Subregional Office for the Caribbean is encouraging schools, summer camps , parents and teachers to get involved in helping children learn about the theme and express their ideas through art.
All entries are to be provided as digital files uploaded to the FAO website. Digitally produced artwork, scans or photos of artwork are all acceptable.
Deadline for submissions is 30 September 2013.