Leah is a Wapishana indigenous woman from Guyana who wants to work to see her community's language, culture and traditional knowledge survive – and thrive.

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Leah is a Wapishana indigenous woman with a passion for “learning, gardening and anything creative.” Moving from Aishalton village to Georgetown (Guyana’s capital city) for her university studies was a cultural shock but she overcame the challenges and obtained her degree in Business Management. Straight after graduating, she was recruited by the Bilingual Education Program for Wapichan Children (QBEP) and felt fortunate about being able to return to her home and serve her people.


Part of her work involves facilitating community workshops, creating bilingual storybooks and other learning resources for classrooms. With a background in business management, the shift to this work and in the field of early childhood education was a little overwhelming, so she was excited when she heard about the Learning Facilitator programme.


While she enrolled to develop skills in learning facilitation and creation of learning courses, she had some doubts, wondering whether these would only be useful for a schoolteacher. However, she soon realised that “the skills and knowledge gained from the programme could be applied to the development of any learning course for any age level taking into consideration the different ways people learn and their local context,” and the programme wound up exceeding her expectations.


Next, Leah enrolled in the Creative Writing and Design programme. It may appear a peculiar move to some, but she saw value in it as she felt the need to improve communications products and learning resources in her work with the QBEP. “I hoped to be able to have a better, aesthetically pleasing presence in the classrooms and online,” she says, adding that she applied knowledge acquired through the Learning Facilitator programme when designing learning resources. Leah now also works for Conservation International Guyana, as the Rupununi Communications Coordinator.


“The support given by the onsite facilitator complemented the online facilitators perfectly,” she says, sharing her experience of the blended learning format of these programmes. “I felt supported all along the way and was able to learn at my pace within the given timeline.” Being able to interact with peers across the globe through the virtual classroom further enriched her learning experience: “I will never again take for granted the right to girls having access to education and freedom from war. Likewise, because of their resilience and willingness to learn, I am inspired to keep learning.”


Asked about her goals, she says that she will work for the better of her people "while keeping our language, culture and traditional knowledge alive and thriving. With my skills in facilitation and design, I am already doing that.”