Young mother empowers herself through education
Almost two decades after leaving secondary school, Resabel Chambers decided to re-enter the education system.
It was a decision that the Bequia resident says has empowered her and given her a second chance at life.
Chambers spoke with SEARCHLIGHT yesterday to share how she moved from being unhappy in a previous job to becoming an entrepreneur and certified teacher.
“A few years ago, I was sort of feeling depressed, not being able to acquire the type of job or career I wanted because I left school with three subjects. Having only three subjects, you’re not really qualified to apply for whatever type of job that you would want,” she said.
The 37-year-old explained that it was in 2014 when a friend told her about a cake decorating course being offered by the Department of Adult and Continuing Education.
And it was an opportunity that she took advantage of immediately.
With the skills she acquired by taking part in the course, Chambers said that she was able to start her cake business, ‘Krafty Cakes’, which was her main source of income, especially after her marriage ended.
“A few months after that, I learnt about the academic courses that they (Adult and Continuing Education) were about to offer. I thought why not, because this is what I’ve been waiting for all along,” she explained.
“So, I went ahead and did Math, English and Social Studies. And I was able to acquire Grade ones for the English and Social Studies and a Grade two for the Math. So that sort of fuelled my passion for learning and acquiring more and setting up even higher in life.”
Between 2014 and 2016, she did courses in Economics, Human and Social Biology and Principles of Business and she obtained Grade ones in all three.
“I felt empowered and I felt like I was given a second chance in life because these courses were free. They were absolutely of no cost to me. All I had to do was attend these classes,” she said.
As a single mother with a daughter who was then enrolled at the Bequia Anglican Primary School, Chambers said she had developed a passion for teaching and chose to apply to the Division of Teacher Education of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College.
But she was not successful in obtaining a space there until her second try in 2016 after she completed the second batch of courses with the Department of Adult and Continuing Education.
And Chambers graduated from the SVGCC in June this year, with her final grade being an A.
She said that she is awaiting placement from the Ministry of Education, but she still runs her cake business as well.
The Bequia resident also told SEARCHLIGHT that it was sometimes difficult to juggle entrepreneurship, her studies and helping her daughter with school work.
However, the whole process caused her to gain another valuable skill.
“The experience has taught me to be better at time management and it has helped me as well to prioritize,” she said. “It wasn’t easy but I came out successful.”
She said she was also better equipped to help her daughter, Kerese, who sat the Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment in 2017 with her school work and make sure that she excelled.
The proud mother said that Kerese placed 37th for girls and 58th overall. She also recorded 100 per cent in the Mathematics exam. And the 12-year-old has just started the second form at the Girls’ High School.
“I usually tell her, success is sweet. You have to work hard to achieve what you want. And when you empower yourself with education, you can choose whatever job you want, rather than sit by and take whatever is available,” Chambers said.
The 37-year-old said there were many naysayers along her journey who made remarks like ‘What I want with that at this age’ or ‘If I ain’t done do them things already in school’, ‘I’m not a child, where I going’.
She also said that this was because there was a stigma attached to adult education classes. But Chambers strongly believes that adult education courses can help persons to achieve their personal career goals.
And she has a message for anyone who may be in the position she was four years ago when she decided to do her first course with the Department of Adult and Continuing Education.
“I would like to advise those persons who are out there …maybe those who have left school a number of years ago and maybe feeling depressed because they can’t or they feel that they are not qualified or stagnated like I was. I want to encourage them to use the courses that are offered through the Adult and Continuing Education programme to empower themselves and move ahead in life.”