The hardest part of being a woman has been being able to remain focused and humble in the midst of all the negative stereotyping against women that exists in the Guyana, more so in the context of Indigenous women. Leaving the hinterland at a young age and starting a new life in a totally new environment was very difficult for me. – Sondra Cheong
Editor’s Note – When I first met Sondra Cheong, she smiled at me and confidently introduced herself. She looked me in the eyes and told me who she was, where she was from and made it clear that she had a special interest in helping her village, Paramakatoi, and other hinterland communities. Since then, Sondra has also been working on several projects aimed at empowering youths, and women, in and around the Georgetown area. The following is a summary of Sondra’s responses to a series of questions asked by the More Than Just a Woman Campaign. It is not to be reproduced in part or whole without permission from the Lady Magazine & NGO.
“I am Sondra Dawn Cheong from Paramakatoi Village in Region # 8. I hold a Diploma in Computer Science and a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from the University of Guyana. I am a Foreign Service Officer within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I am a volunteer with the Global Shapers Community- Georgetown Hub.
It is definitely a privilege being a woman and a Guyanese woman to be exact. In a society where the rights of women are continuously being violated in many aspects of life, yet having the ability to pursue an education and a career makes me a strong woman.
I also feel that as a Guyanese woman I am unique with my ability to embrace others from all cultural and ethnic backgrounds and the fact that I am free to set my goals in life which is not a luxury to many women in the world gives me a great sense of pride and empowerment.
The best part of being a woman in Guyana is the fact that I have had a freedom to pursue an education despite the challenges encountered along the way. I have taken advantage of every opportunity that I felt was in my best interest and most importantly, I have been lucky to have great role models who have motivated me, molded me and made me realize my self- worth in the process. Moreover, I am proud to know that I can be a role model to young women who aspire to achieve their goals, especially in my community.
The hardest part of being a woman has been being able to remain focused and humble in the midst of all the negative stereotyping against women that exists in the Guyana, more so in the context of Indigenous women. Leaving the hinterland at a young age and starting a new life in a totally new environment was very difficult for me. Additionally, losing my father and subsequently not having a father figure was a challenge for me which is a common dilemma faced by many young women today.
I would definitely want to see women become aware of their self- worth and realize their potential to be agents of change in order to rid of negative perceptions of being a woman in Guyana. Moreover, I wish to see women embrace each other and work towards a common good.”