The Philanthropic work of a 26-year-old Guyanese woman has earned her the prestigious Queen’s Young Leaders Award 2017.
Samantha Sheoprashad was born and bred in Enterprise, East Coast Demerara with her two siblings and parents. She is a suicide survivor-focused on making a difference in her community and helping young persons to realize their potentials. The young and ambitious entrepreneur has been working with disadvantaged communities in Guyana for some years through her non-governmental organization – Enterprise Youth Development Group.
The Queen’s Young Leaders Award programme recognise and celebrate exceptional young people aged 18 to 29 in the Commonwealth who are driving change within their communities and transforming people’s lives. As part of the Award, winners will receive bespoke mentoring and online learning provided by the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Continuing Education. Award winners will attend a week-long residential programme in the UK in June when they will receive their Award at Buckingham Palace from Queen Elizabeth.
GGR caught up with Samantha shortly after the news of her award was made public to chat about what it means to her and discuss her personal journey.
Tell us a little about your family background.
I am the eldest child of my parents. I grew up in the Village of Enterprise in the Demerara-Mahaica region of Guyana. My mom is a school vendor, and my dad was a Goldsmith now a Carpenter. I have one brother and sister.
How would you define your career/business/talent?
I am an Entrepreneur, Co –Founder of Trifinity Solution, Graphic Designer, Mobile App Developer and Website Designer.
What made you want to pursue a career in Information Technology?
My passion and drive for the design software programming Industry led me on this path which has helped me to be a self-employed youth.
Over the past 3 three years, I have been using my passion for design and programming to develop a local software business – Trifinity Solutions. This initiative is based upon a firm belief that: “Creation isn’t working when driven by passion.” Trifinity Solutions is a software solution and services Provider Company focused on a variety of services such as a web-based application developed using various Website Designing, Mobile Apps, and Application Software. Other services offered are Graphics Designing, Systems, Social Media Marketing and Security Consultancy.
What would you say motivates you to do what you do?
1. My fear of failing keeps me motivated and focus.
2. My life challenges. They are great opportunities to learn and encourage me to push myself.
3. My desire to create opportunities and support system for my community that I never had growing up.
4. My dream and goals of using programming talents to revolutionize technology in Guyana.
What would you say is your biggest accomplishment?
Overcoming Leukemia and Depression breathed life right back into me. No amount of material success, academia, and money in this world could have brought me back.
The Queen’s Young Leaders Award is a very prestigious recognition. Is the first time you are being acknowledged for your work?
No, I received the 2012 National Star Camper Award; 2014 Youth Worker Award; 2015 Youth Worker Award from the Ministry of Culture Youth and Sports, and the Most Outstanding Contribution to Faculty Life from the University of Guyana.
“This Award will expose me to unique resources such as mentoring and team builders and will help me to launch new projects within my community. ”
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in life?
Always be light! Life will have ups and downs, good times and some not so good times, but know that every experience you have here on this planet serves a purpose.
Earlier you mentioned life challenges. Would you like to share how you overcame those challenges?
Six years ago, I was battling Leukemia. Doctors told me I would die and even astrologers predicted my death. I had several accidents that had the entire vehicle damaged, but I came out alive. Many times I fell sick and watched my parents struggle in search of answers.
Then I realized I had to change my mindset and I did transcend. I can remember my friend Narendra Nauth fasting so much for all sickness and darkness to go away. When he was done, and we went to the Doctor, everything just disappeared. That’s a Miracle. He (Narendra) told me, “My Queen, you are going to live forever from this day on, we are going to build an empire together.”
Life was depressing, and I had thoughts of killing myself until I tried and that fail too. This happened when I couldn’t afford tuition fees anymore. The world seems to be ending on that day. It was the very same day my friend Narendra dragged me to Malcolm Williams’ office. Mr. Williams told me “no willing student will be left behind.” During my recovery process, I entered into counseling and mindset development with Eldon Marks. These three Gentlemen held me together. They would be my Trilogy if you asked me. So I decided no more suicidal thinking/actions because I found purpose in life and serving people through youth development. If I was going to die, then that should be every day where an old me die, and a rebirth takes place to improve who I am. That is when I became intrigued to come up with a solution for problems and began reaching out to others.
Nobody wanted an education like I did. Death was up in my face, all horrible events took place, and I wanted my Degree in Computer Science. I let go of people, friends and anyone who thought that I am not entitled to that just because I am a woman or I am too poor to meet that level. In the beginning, it was even harder for my family to see this happening. I had to do a lot of forgiving for this period. Education isn’t cheap in Guyana nor free, and a job was such a hard thing to find after sending out more than 50 applications. Sometimes, I went to class during my Diploma with just transportation money most days. So Narendra Nauth and I decided to pool our ideas and form Trifinity Solutions. That is what supported me through my Bachelor’s Degree. I am just a couple weeks away from finishing.
Through all of this, I felt hell and heaven both. I learned to value life even more and know who the real people around me are. Just Last Saturday, Rosh Khan had me write my Eulogy, but I had real experience of that several times lying on a hospital bed years ago. You get realization out of that exercise. That was real scary. What’s scarier, is when you’re doing courses you don’t feel in University, but you have to. I wanted to quit many times, then Lyndell Danzie-Black logically, scientifically and peacefully led me out of this box of distasteful illusion. Those experiences forced me never to give up and push my limits. I sometimes go days without eating and sleeping 24/7. The Graveyard is a rich place because most people die and don’t live to bring their dreams and ideas to reality. A lot of ideas are in the graveyard.
I ended years of violence and abuse in my parent’s relationship leading my father into becoming a changed man. I stood up to him. This change took place when I went down to the cause of him behaving so. My dad quit smoking finally and drinking, he and my mom have a better relationship, now they expressed their love and affection…I plan on getting them married legally. Come next year; I cannot wait for this to happen.
What advice would you give a young girl/woman who wants to pursue a similar career?
Leading as a Woman is not about demanding people to follow you but giving them the chance to lead you through the changes they are making in their community. Being a leader is being a mom, a wife or girlfriend, a business leader, a neighbor and, a friend, just to name a few.
Life will give you many chances to lead, and women leaders know that they must first lead themselves by being genuine and virtuous to who they are. A real leader knows their core and lives their life connected to the truth that lies there. Women leading in their feminine energy possess the ability to lead by empowering other. They know how to connect others with the best of what lies inside them. Find your gift as a woman leader to inspire and awaken passion in others.
Stand up for what you believe in. Love yourself. You can never be too young or too old to make a difference. If you see it, you can be it. When faced with adversity, turn your pain into solutions. Find strength in your life experience, LEARN AND grow from them. .Accept failure with pleasure because that is an opportunity for you to master your challenges, they are your greatest teachers.
What would you say is the essence of being a woman who rocks?
Being Queens Young Leader 2017 allows me the chance to fulfill my purpose as a Humanitarian and Youth Leader. It is the time to plant seeds for future definition of leadership in my country. I will lead through Science, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship serving my beautiful country Guyana.
What’s next for you or what are you most looking forward to?
- During my Ambassadorship with the Queens Young Leaders Program, I am eyeing the chance to work with youths in several areas. I will create well-designed and professionally run youth development programs, promote youth leadership by involving youth in needs assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation. I am pushing to create more youth leaders and emphasize to some organizations to include youth on their boards of directors providing them with basic skillset needed.
- Publishing research paper on my Thesis entitled “Identifying Depression from Social Media Content via psychological and Linguistic Analysis” included an algorithm using Natural Language processing to detect depressive statements.
- Develop and expand Trifinity Solutions securing a future in providing our services internationally
- Look for a Scholarship to do my Masters in Entrepreneur and Innovation and then Ph.D. in Computer Science.
- Publish some poetry books and continue to pen “Experiment with Humanity.”
- Exploring options of becoming a Noble Prize Winner
- Start a Family.
Samantha is a University graduate and holds several diplomas from Universities overseas and in Guyana in the areas of Information Communication Technology (ICT). She hopes that her story is an inspiration for every youth who struggles, has failed, feels discouraged, and to those who aren’t accepted but never give up!