The Kingston & St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) has donated $150,000 to the Early Stimulation Project, which was created to meet the developmental needs of children with disabilities.
The money will be disbursed over the next three years with an initial contribution of $50,000 in the first year.
Graduates at the Early Stimulation Project Graduation and Prize Giving Excercise, held recently at the North Street Seventh Day Adventist Church
Mayor of Kingston, Desmond McKenzie, made the announcement at a graduation ceremony held recently at the project’s headquarters downtown Kingston. A total of 26 children received certificates for successfully completing the programme.
In his greetings, Mayor McKenzie said, “as Mayor of the city, I regard it as my duty, to look out for those who are least able to look out for themselves, [such as] the elderly, the young and the disabled.”
He took the opportunity to commend the staff of the project, whom he said, had worked patiently with the children, and had given them the courage and commitment that they needed to succeed.
The Mayor commented that persons with disabilities could no longer be viewed as less privileged, as they had the same rights and opportunities as able-bodied persons. “This is an age in which persons with disabilities are not content to be regarded as second class citizens, as they are asserting themselves, and we have a duty to provide them with the necessary support,” he stated.
He further urged persons in the society to change the negative perception and attitudes they might have towards persons with disabilities.
He informed that the KSAC had now mandated that “all new building plans must have proper facilities for persons with disabilities to access and use them.” He warned the department would not approve any plans that did not abide by the regulations.
A programme of the Government of Jamaica, the Early Stimulation Project was established in 1975 to serve the developmental needs of children with disabilities from birth to six years. After six years, children who are successful in the programme, are placed into the mainstream educational system.
The project falls under the portfolio of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, and is managed by the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities.
Later this year, the National Disabilities Act will be tabled in Parliament giving strength and legislative support to the National Policy For Persons with Disabilities.