CDD programme graduates Class of 2015
A group of Bermudian women moved one step closer to achieving financial independence when they graduated from the Department of Human Affairs' Community Driven Development programme yesterday. Seventeen of the 20 participants enrolled in the programme were presented with certificates at a graduation ceremony held at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity.
The graduates were welcomed by Laurie Shiell, chairperson of the Bermuda Women's Council.
Jane Brett, policy analyst at the Department of Human Affairs, said: “The primary focus of this programme is to strengthen skills, competencies and abilities of unemployed or underemployed women to assist them with becoming self-sufficient.
“We have used a four-pronged approach which involves the provision of workshops, education, site visits and work shadowing and volunteering. This approach is divided into six months of workshops and site visits, and six months of work shadowing,” she said, adding that the education component continues throughout the programme.
Ms Brett said that five participants had successfully enrolled in the Bermuda College, with two set to graduate this year and the others in 2016.
“The graduates have changed; they have gained confidence, an increase in self-esteem, skills and professional growth,” Ms Brett said, adding that two of the women had secured full-time employment and six are working part-time.
Deborah Bradford, the CDD programme manager, said: “No matter the task at hand, or what was going on in their lives, they always came to class; they were always there willing to share and to me that is amazing.
“When you're in a group of individuals, and to open up yourself and be vulnerable, is even more amazing.
“So I salute you, I love you and I wish you much success.”
Juan Prado, the incoming CDD programme chairman, also spoke about the future of the programme, stating that as of April 1, the CDD will become a registered charity and will no longer be run by the Government.
“Our belief is that every disadvantaged man or woman in our community has the potential to blossom,” he said. “Our vision is that in collaboration with the Bermuda Government and other local charities, we can empower our students to realise their economic potential through personal transformation, education, soft skills development and to create opportunities for employment and financial independence.
“But we only have one goal: jobs, jobs, jobs.”
Lisa-Dawn Johnston, director of the Department of Parks, who was the guest speaker at the event, said: “Once you achieve what your dreams are, it doesn't get any easier.
“But the beauty of it is, for those of us who have to battle our way to our dreams, we already know how to have that fight, we know how to stick in that struggle and never give up.
“One important point that I want you to take away with you today, is that there is help for just about anything you may need help with.”
Melody Parris, deputy chairwoman of the Bermuda Women's Council, offered her heartfelt congratulations to the graduates on behalf of the Department of Human Affairs, the CDD programme administrators and the Bermuda Women's Council in her closing remarks. She also thanked all those who contributed to the programme. The CDD programme was established in 2013 with the aim of helping those without a job, or who are underemployed, to become self-sufficient.
The Class of 2015 graduates were Cierra Holdipp, Lovette Smith, Karesha Robinson, Gene-Anne Bean, Kettina Spence, Malika Gumbs, Samantha Iris, Denjuanna Nesbitt, Zalika Darrell, Donna-Mae Dill, Orrene Mallory, Jeanetta Hypolite, Renee Gilbert, Theresa Richards, Christie Seymour, Tramaine Outerbridge and Taqiyyah Swan.
Also graduating, but not present at the ceremony, were Alicia Hall, Marian Medeiros and Vertina Robinson.
Also in attendance were Deputy Governor Ginny Ferson, Governor George Fergusson's wife, Margaret Fergusson, Community Minister Pat Gordon-Pamplin, Junior Minister Nandi Outerbridge and Education Minister Wayne Scott.