Clonel Boston : Serving WAD with a passion for social work

A FORMER senior library assistant at the University of Guyana (UG) and a proud resident of Buxton Village on the East Coast Demerara, Clonel Samuels-Boston now serves as Coordinator of Women Across Differences (WAD) where she is largely involved in bettering the lives of women and young girls. 

It is her humane and humble personality that prompted her to pursue social work as her field of study. Hence, as soon as they approach her, people could sense that she is ready to lend a helping hand.
Boston was born in Buxton, where she still resides, and she received her primary education at Buxton Congregational School before attending Bladen Hall Secondary Multilateral School. She holds a Diploma and a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from UG.
After her university education, Boston wanted to have some exposure and experience in the area of social work, and so after working about eight years in the library, she decided to take up a position work with the WAD.
Among the various duties she performs are coordinating public education sessions and workshops and facilitating meetings and discussions. She also did a number of courses in social work and has represented women through seminars, conferences and presentations in places such as London, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Uganda, Grenada, Barbados, Trinidad, St. Lucia, Jamaica and many others.
Representing and helping women does bring challenges but Boston’s commitment helps her to deal with them. She told the Chronicle in an interview that she has a passion for this type of work and therefore has not regretted leaving the university.
The results that come from helping others and the impact that WAD makes on the lives of women are what gives Boston real satisfaction in her job. For example, she has seen firsthand the benefits that were derived by residents of Lusignan due to the initiatives by WAD following the massacre that saw more than a dozen people losing their lives.
Being there for others has also helped her to grow personally, she says. She explained that she was a very, very shy person, but since she began working with WAD, she has gained much confidence.
She found that having a degree and working in the library did not quite prepare her for the challenges she encountered working with a diverse group of women. She found that she was not as strong as she needed to be to deal with some of the conflicts and personality issues in the performance of her daily tasks.
“On many occasions, I wanted to leave the job, since I was very uncomfortable and felt vulnerable and at a disadvantage. However, over the years, as a result of mentorship and support from some of the directors and members of WAD, I stayed and learned about being assertive, about frankness, leadership, management, and to be confident and always see myself as a positive empowered woman.
“Persons both at the local and international levels have complimented me on my growth in the organization and expressed that they are proud of who I am today. I see myself as a success story for WAD.
“In this job, you need to be committed, you must have a passion for it, you have to listen and understand persons and not be judgmental,” she says. Boston credits her supportive husband Jolyon Boston, who, she says, has to put up with her sometimes long hours of work.”
WAD is a non-governmental organisation that relies mainly on donor agencies for funding. Its main aim is to empower women through natural and social resources. It came into being in 1996, but was officially launched on March 3, 1999.
To date, WAD has worked in various communities across the country, along with several international organizations such as Oxfam Great Britain, Oxfam Canada, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Caribbean Development Policy Centre in Barbados, the office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the United Nations Population Fund.
Boston’s vision for WAD includes expanding the organization so that those women who graduate from it can return to serve others. She also hopes to see income generation projects in the organization.
To become a member of WAD, Boston said an individual would have to visit the office at Lot 34 Anira Street, Queenstown, and fill out a membership form. They would participate in or attend three of the organisation’s activities and evaluate if this is the place they want to be. They would also be required to pay a fee of $1,000 per year.
Written By Telesha Ramnarine


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