June 21, 2024

INFO 10

THE TRUTH IN BLACK AND WHITE

Linden’s veteran educator and women empowerment enthusiast receives ‘Woman of Excellence’ Award

Linden’s veteran educator Camille Cummings on Saturday was the first recipient of the ‘Woman of Excellence’ Award that was presented at the 25 Influential Women Leaders Award at the Marriot Hotel. Cummings whose voluntary service to woman and community empowerment over the years, has now been given national recognition, something residents of Linden and Guyana at large, deem well deserving. The retired head teacher spends her time investing in the upliftment of women and other vulnerable groups such as the elderly. She is the founder of Ladies on a Mission (L.O.A.M), a renown Linden-based women’s group that has contributed in many ways to the cause for women’s empowerment.

In an interview with INFO 10, the ecstatic recipient said she is ‘excited and overwhelmed’, to receive such an award, but more so, knowing it is the first of its kind. “This award means a lot to me in my journey of giving service to the community over the years as a woman and most of all empowering girls and women.” She noted that her inspiration for empowerment philanthropy and community volunteerism was birthed during her teaching career, where she ‘mothered’ many girls who have now turned into women of societal value. “Through my teaching years, I would have touched the lives of many girls and women not only through academic teaching but life skills which include morals and values….I was able to launch my ladies empowerment group with about 30 members after receiving my vision,” she highlighted.

L.O.A.M was birthed out of a former group, ‘WOMI’, whom she was a member of, which was founded by an overseas patron. “After years of marking time, in 2022, she indicated she was no longer interested in the group …I gave it deep thought of losing such a bunch of dedicated women and I searched my inner me and found the answer to my vision and mission hence a name and objectives….I didn’t question my leadership because I knew that was within me.”

Speaking on one her most noticeable ventures and recent ventures, she shared touching the lives of girls at the Harauruni Girls’ Home, through visits and charitable support and for Mother’s Day 2024, the organization honoured a 26-year-old single mother of three, residing in Amelia’s Ward, Linden.

Since formation in 2022, the group has increased its membership, who are consistent in meeting the goals and objectives, coordinates monthly ‘pensioner breakfast programme’ catering for 100 pensioners. In December 2023, the group launched its junior group- L.O.A.M Starlets, which consists of 15 female students attending the Harmony Secondary School. The group hosted its first annual kids Christmas party within different communities of Linden.

“Being an influencer in these areas, impacts my life positively since life is seen in a widen scope and my reach to women has become an easy deal thus bringing about changes for them as I always use my life as an example to influence others through my speech, advice, mode of dress, my conduct and general leadership.”

The group funds its ventures from private individuals, particularly those residing in the diaspora. Currently the organization is seeking to establish a stable office space or meeting hall and to acquire some furniture to enhance its Pensioners Breakfast Programme.

Despite experiencing some challenges, Cummings said, she finds her volunteerism very fulfilling as she is able to uplift the hearts and minds of women in her home town, provide both tangible and non-tanglible support in areas of community upliftment.