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< Current local time in Suriname – Paramaribo
PARAMARIBO—A project that will look into creating job and training opportunities for its youth and support the modernization of the juvenile justice system was kicked off on Thursday . The “Youth Development and Juvenile Justice in Suriname” project is a three-year initiative funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
Charged with implementation is the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), the non-profit foundation of the Organization of American States (OAS) that implements integral socio-economic development programs for disadvantaged people and provides aid victims of natural disasters and humanitarian crises. In 2012, the foundation helped more than 10 million people in 29 countries. . Headquartered in Washington DC, PADF has field offices in Haiti, Colombia and Suriname, and projects throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. The project is facilitated by the Organization of American States (OAS).
A press release from the US embassy said that through the project, PADF will focus on providing youth access to employment and vocational education. Local organizations will be able to apply for grants for a wide variety of preventive and support services targeting youth. The project will also support the modernization of the country’s juvenile justice system so it continues to be more responsive to the rehabilitative needs of youth offenders, the release said. It will be executed in partnership with Government, local NGOs, the business community and other donor organizations to address the growing problems of at-risk youth.
PARAMARIBO–Government has scrapped the hydro energy project that was billed as the solution to the country’s long term energy woos. No official statement has been released yet, but reports are that President Desi Bouterse assured residents of her district that the TapaJai project that would affect their surroundings will not be carried out. The residents will soon be presented with the President’s formal notice of cancellation.
TapaJai refers to the area surrounding the Tapanahoni River and the Jai Creek in Sipaliwini in south eastern Suriname, from where water will be diverted to supplement the Prof. Dr. J.C. Van Blommestein Lake, a 1,560 square kilometer artificial lake that was created in the 1960′s.
Due to unexpected changes in weather patterns, the Afobaka Dam power plant in the dam at the lake has in recent years been unable to generate enough hydro-energy to power both the country’s growing community and the aluminum plant of Suralco -a subsidiary of Pittsburg headquartered multinational Alcoa.
AMSTERDAM–A foundation has kicked off a donation drive in the Netherlands to raise the funds to erect a national slavery monument in Suriname. Winston Wirth of Green Hearts Foundation International (GHFI) said at the foundation’s first information session in Amsterdam that the intention is to raise at least US$ 400,000.
The intention to erect monument that would pay homage to the heroes of the days when slavery was norm, was first announced last February by President Bouterse. “The national heroes should be honored with a monument that is a powerful tribute,” the President said then. Veteran artist Erwien de Vries, who also sculpted the Slavery Monument in Amsterdam’s Oostpark, has offered to create the monument, but it turns out that the necessary funds are not in Government’s budget.
PARAMARIBO–Jan Ernst Maltzeliger, the Surinamer who revolutionized the world’s shoe industry may get proper recognition in his country. Daily newspaper De Ware Tijd reports that the Matzeliger Institute last Thursday submitted a formal request to the board of the University of Suriname, to bestow a posthumous honorary doctorate from the Technological Faculty upon the Black 19th century inventor.
Matzeliger was born in Paramaribo on September 15, 1852, the son of a Black slave and a Dutch engineer; at an early age he learned engineering from his father, but at the age of 17, he left Suriname to work as a sailor. He settled in the US two years later. In 1876 he moved to Lynn, Massachusetts, the emerging center of the American shoe manufacturing industry. On March 20, 1883, Matzeliger received patent no. 274, 207 for a “Lasting Machine” that rapidly stitched the leather and sole of a shoe.
This task was previously done manually by a “hand laster”, who could produce 50 pairs in a ten-hour day; Maltzeliger’s machine could produce between 150 to 700 pairs of shoes a day, cutting shoe prices in half.
AMSTERDAM–Finally there may be peace for the 680 Africans who perished when the Dutch slave ship Leusden sank off the Suriname coast in 1738. At least that’s the hope of the organizers of the first Afro spiritual ceremony not far from the underwater grave of the ill-fated captives. “This mission was a great success throughout,” said Henry Strijk, a senior journalist who, prompted by a book on the Slave Ship Leusden by historian Leo Balai, had spearheaded the project with funding from the Dutch Government.
The Leusden was a ship that was built in the Netherlands specifically for transporting captives from Africa to work as slaves on the Dutch colonies Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles. Reports are that the vessel made no less than 10 trips, carrying 6,564 captives, 1,639 of whom did not survive the passage. On January 1st 1738, the ship made its final voyage; it ran aground in the estuary of the Marowijne River, and just before it sank into the murky depths, the captain ordered his crew to lock the compartments where the slaves were kept. The crew sailed off and left the Africans to drown. Historian Balai, who obtained his doctorate title with the study into the ship, characterized this as the worst naval disaster in Dutch history. His book –The SlaveShip Leusden- has unearthed a touchy part of the country’s past that not much was written about before.
In The Netherlands, the book prompted journalists Henry Strijk and Jessica Dikmoet, both of Surinamese origin, into submitting an elaborate proposal that not only included the spiritual ceremony, but also featured a session in which budding journalists would be involved. It all took place in Suriname in the past few weeks. Back from Suriname, sipping on a cup of coffee in Amsterdam last Tuesday, Strijk spoke in superlatives about how the project went.
DevSur contributor Dr Cory Couillard will guest in The Dr Mol Show on April 26th, to explain the risks associated with excess belly fat, the link to diabetes and will provide exercise and dietary solutions to lose belly fat and keep it off. The Dr Mol Show segment “Waistline Woes” that airs 26 April 2013 on SABC3 will look at the relationship between abdominal fat, abdominal girth and Type 2 diabetes.
Body mass index (BMI) was once used as the gold standard to determine one’s risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, clogging of the arteries and heart attack. BMI is determined by a ratio of height to weight but this system does not look at where the weight is distributed.New research has showed that BMI is not as reliable as waist to height ratios. Waist circumference measures the amount of belly fat and how it is distributed throughout the body. Excessive abdominal fat is a well-known risk factor for Type 2 diabetes.
An interesting course on diversity, conservation and research of Xenarthra (sloths, anteaters and armadillos) was conducted in Paramaribo on April 15 and 16. The aim of this course was mainly to get people’s attention to the need for doing more research of Xenarthra in the Guyana’s.
This two-day course was preceded by the ‘2nd International Sloth Meeting’. Numerous biology students from the teachers college in Suriname and some from the University of Guyana attended the course. According to Monique Pool, president of Green Heritage Fund Suriname (GHFS), a good number of gamekeepers participated as well.
Researchers from Brazil, Portugal and Argentina talked about several topics ranging from threats, such as road kills or loss of habitat, to genetic research.
Richard Richmond, a third year biology student from Georgetown, Guyana, found the storage methods for research material quite interesting. It was obvious during this course that a lot needs to be done to get more knowledge about the Xenartra.
“Only when an animal becomes extinct do we come to know what it meant to an ecosystem,” mentioned Mariella Superina, a veterinarian doing research of armadillos.
Monique Pool was happy to see such a crowd of students and hopes, that in the near future, they’ll at least be more involved, even if that means becoming a volunteer for GHFS!
PARAMARIBO–Dozens of boys and girls, most of them clad in white clothing, gathered early Sunday morning to do a yoga-session in Paramaribo.
On April 7, World Health Day, people not only from Paramaribo but also from other districts, were ready for a yoga-session organized by Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh Suriname (HSSS). This organisation believes that through yoga, a ’Healthy people, healthy nation’ can be created. Worldwide, non-communicable diseases are reaching enormous proportions, so why not promote yoga to prevent them?
Kiran Mahangi became a member of HSSS twelve years ago. He explained the work of HSSS. “In several community centers, youngsters gather to practise yoga and to get physical -and character development. They also learn what it is to be disciplined. There is a curriculum with objectives. HSSS originates from India but is not specifically for persons with Indian roots”. HSSS organized this yoga session for the first time due to World Health Day and the location of the Independence square in Paramaribo was most suitable.
PARAMARIBO–In commemoration of International Day of Forests, March 21 and World Water Day, March 22 the U.S. Embassy Paramaribo, is presenting two documentaries:
Ross Kemp: Battle for the Amazon This documentary looks into the socio-economic and environmental pressures facing the Amazon regions of Brazil, Ecuador and Peru and exploring the legacy of devastation created by a burgeoning global desire for energy, food and mineral resources. It investigates how oil companies are affecting large tracts of the Amazon in a desire to satisfy the planet’s energy needs and how the turf wars that arise over cattle ranching and soy plantations have escalated. It also investigates how the global demand for cocaine is leading to further deforestation and how the rise in the price of gold has meant that people are tearing up the rainforest as they seek to earn a living.
PARAMARIBO–Artist Rinaldo Klas has recently returned from Philadelphia in the USA, where he participated in the international traveling exhibition Circus Terminal, Readytex Art Gallerry announced. The gallery reports that Klas now wants to do a similar project with local youth after which he will combine the work of the US and Surinamese children in a collage.
HIs trip to Philadelphia follows his weeks as artist in residence at the Vermont Studio Centre in the USA ,in 2010. This residency turned out to be a valuable experience which left Klas with a number of strong friendships and international contacts. Together with other artists from that time in Vermont for example, he became part of the Gihon River Collective which exhibited in London, UK in 2010.
Thanks to these contacts, especially to Chutima Nok Kerdpitak (Thailand/UK), artist and curator, Rinaldo was also invited to participate in Circus Terminal, a non commercial international traveling exhibition in which artists from all over the world are included. The exhibition had its kick off in 2011 in London, and from there it has already traveled to various countries. On February 15th 2013 the Circus Terminal exhibition opened its doors at Studio B in Boyertown, Philadelphia in the USA, and Rinaldo Klas was there. This fabulous international collaboration in which 67 artists from 18 countries participate, will be showing in Boyertown until the 9th of March 2013.