— Nateica Garraway shares her story on breaking the cycle of illiteracy in her family
— says the same can be done in families with negative history
THERE is a popular saying ‘you are the product of your environment’, which often leads to the belief that your family/generational history will be a recurring cycle that will affect you and generations after you.
However, 27-year-old Nateica Garraway, fondly known as “Sheri”, believes that it is possible to break generational cycles when one realises that they are the master of their own thoughts and attitudes and can tailor same in a positive direction.
This, she confirms with her personal story of breaking the cycle of illiteracy in her family.
In an interview with Guyana Chronicle, Garraway said she was born in Essequibo but grew up in Buxton.
She was raised by a single mom, who was forced to drop out of school because tending to the family was valued far above having an education back then.
This in turn inherited the consequence of not having a sound education. However, the young woman said she was adamant that history must not repeat itself.
“I developed a love for reading and learning on my own from a tender age. This became the foundation from which my academics were built. Knowing my generational background, I told myself I would push through with my studies to break the cycle of illiteracy within my family because it ends with me paving the way for my future generation to do even greater things,” Garraway said.
She said she stands by three principles that guide her life: in life, the choice is yours to be either a positive statistic or a negative one; be who you needed when you were younger; to be different you have to do different. And these steered her life in the right direction, allowing her to now become the best version of herself, with a plethora of achievements.
Because she is a nature and animal lover who is intrigued by science, Garraway pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in General Biology at the University of Guyana.
In addition to her academics, she said she loves being creative, “whether reading, writing, cooking, baking or sharing my insights. That’s why, to date, I have co-authored one book by Sonia Noel: Women Across Borders and Rising from the Ashes with chapter entitled ‘Youth With a Vision: Breaking Barriers’. I started a home-based cake decorating service called Rafiki’s Cake House; and I also started a blog page called ‘Sheri’s Insights’.
Volunteerism is also a strong passion of the young woman. “I love helping others and creating change that’s why I entered volunteerism since 2014 and am still active. Mainly I’ve volunteered as a Zoo Education Officer at the Guyana Zoo; volunteered at the Association of Young Africans (AYA) because I have a great interest in afro-centric empowerment, and lastly SRHR adventures that promotes sexual and reproductive health with a special focus on contraception/ family planning in Guyana of which I am still a part of today. I’ve undergone local and international training on youth leadership by Ministry of the Presidency Youth Leadership training and the Kectil Programme, of which I am the 2020 regional coordinator for the Caribbean and South America Region. I recently got accepted into the 2020 Women Deliver Young Leader Programme,” she shared.
Based on her successful journey of becoming who she is today, Garraway said that she will keep using her voice in the world of volunteerism and build her generational legacy.
“My advice to fellow youths is to not wear labels thrown at you based on your environment, family background, etc. But rather create who and what you wish to become. If like me, you have the desire to be more than one of anything, then strive for all at your own pace; don’t let anyone limit your ability because of theirs. If you think and believe it, then you can manifest it,” the young woman said.