BOLD PLANS EMERGING FROM NATIONAL CONSULTATION ON ISSUES AFFECTING PWD’s – PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
A number of key challenges have been identified for enriching the lives of PWD’s or People With Disabilities. They include: accessible education; financial security; emergency preparedness; accessible service delivery and employment…
The Cabinet Minister said even if the Budget confirms backing for plans he has in mind for the Ministry to expand its outreach, such action is only lip service without deeds and commitment by People Empowerment & Elder Affairs.
These initiatives were revealed in-depth by Gabrielle Springer, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, who addressed the virtual audience attending the National Disabilities Unit (NDU)’s national consultation on Issues Affecting Persons with Disabilities (PWD).
Ms Springer indicated how Government during the next Financial Year, will focus on the issue of employment which is to be addressed (in part) through the Mangrove Agricultural project, which will seek to empower PWDs through imparting skills in food crop and flower cultivation. There will also be tuition in flower arranging and the hosting of entrepreneurial markets for PWDs, to showcase their produce and services, thereby helping them to earn income.
Once completed, vulnerable populations will be able to access services from one location that is easily accessible and provides holistic responses to their needs. This will be complemented by the establishment of the Commission for the Improvement of the Lives of Persons with Disabilities. One of the key tasks of this mechanism, will be to advise on legislative reform and the development of policy instruments, to improve the livelihood of PWDs.
As it relates to education, government is currently in the process of reforming the education system. Students with special needs will receive the desired attention and your deliberations today will be fed into the process when the opportunity arises. However, in the short term, she explained the MPEA will endeavour to meet the needs of those students, by providing the necessary education aides and support, to help them function adequately in the classroom and in remote facilities.
She also informed how the Ministry participated in Caribe Wave 2022, which was a tsunami simulation exercise on 9 March, to ensure adequate systems are in place for PWDs if a coastal emergency occurs. Ms Springer noted they’ll continue to work with the Department of Emergency Management to train District Emergency Officers, to be appropriately prepared to mitigate the impact of all types of emergencies on PWDs, especially those who reside alone, along with those who have mobility challenges.
The seminar is part of activities being held to mark the Month of the Disabled, being celebrated under the theme of Inclusion: Living Without Limits.