By Akeem Greene
Some of our fore-parents would have said “when you least expect it, the universe will surprise you with opportunities.”
For Section ‘D’ Sophia resident and concrete blocks maker, Jeffon Muhammad, the current housing drive by the Government and Guyana and the benevolence of Modern Building Solutions paved the way for what is becoming a life-changing opportunity.
Currently, there is the construction of low-income homes at Cummings Lodge, Greater Georgetown.
“Me and a couple of my friends saw that a scheme was being developed and we decided to take a walk to see what benefits we can get out of it because we normally do it [block-making] on a small scale”, Muhammad revealed to the News Room on Monday.
That casual walk of interest turned to profit, as he met with the Chief Executive Officer of Modern Building Solutions, Gavin Gayadin, who gave him a truckload of sand and a sling of cement to jump-start the business.
The construction company will now purchase the concrete blocks from Muhammad and hope that the other contractors on the project would follow suit in supporting the community.
Currently, Muhammad has the capacity to produce 1200-1500 blocks per day but if he can create more storage space, he can double that amount.
Modern Building Solutions will also provide, free of cost, building materials for Muhammad to further shed his premises so he can produce more quality blocks.
“We very much appreciate it 100% because it [the construction] is [located] right here and it is benefiting a lot of us. We started with two persons [making blocks] and were at six to eight persons now, and we hope to continue to expand because there is a lot of houses building.
“We hope to go to other contractors and make offers so they can purchase blocks from us but we also have people who do mason work and carpentry that have been employed, so the community is really happy.”
For the 33-year-old, opportunities such as these allow many residents of the community to show they can offer meaningful contributions to society as opposed to varying generalisations and conceptions the wider public may have of them.
“A lot of people have a different view but we decided we can do things and with this opportunity, we are so thankful for everything happening right now, the housing and everything, it is very good”, Muhammad, who has been involved in the trade for 15 years, expressed.
Meanwhile, Gayadin said while a big part of the pilot project is part of their corporate social responsibility, he was following the directive of the President of Guyana, Dr Irfaan Ali, to involve the community in these development projects.
“The seed was sown by His Excellency Dr Irfaan Ali when we met with him a few weeks ago. He implored the contractors on the project site to have some more community involvement and one of the direct initiatives he asked us to do, is what we are doing.”
On completion of the Cummings Lodge Housing Project, there will be 190 elevated, two-bedroom houses built for low-income households.
The infrastructural works, which include the construction of roads, bridges and drainage channels, will stretch from Cummings Lodge to Aubrey Barker Road, South Ruimveldt.