Persons with Disabilities Receive Laptops

Photo: Mark Bell Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley (right), presents a Dell computer to André Fisher (second right), during a handover ceremony at the Centre for Disability Studies, Mona campus, on October 12. Mr. Fisher was among 40 individuals from the community of persons with disabilities who were provided with computerised equipment. They were provided through the Universal Service Fund. Others sharing in the moment (from left) are Director of Projects, Universal Service Fund, Everold Simms; Principal, University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona, Professor Archibald McDonald; and Director of the Centre for Disability Studies, Senator Floyd Morris.

Story Highlights

  • Laptops with the requisite software and valued at $13.5 million were handed over to 40 members of the community of persons with disabilities today (October 12), to help them in their daily lives.
  • The items were acquired through the Universal Service Fund (USF) and handed over to students at the tertiary level and those employed, including the hearing impaired, physically challenged and the visually impaired.
  • Dr. Wheatley pointed out that computerised equipment and software are making life more meaningful for persons with disabilities and enabling them to interface with the Internet while communicating instantly with their families and friends across the world.

Laptops with the requisite software and valued at $13.5 million were handed over to 40 members of the community of persons with disabilities today (October 12), to help them in their daily lives.

The items were acquired through the Universal Service Fund (USF) and handed over to students at the tertiary level and those employed, including the hearing impaired, physically challenged and the visually impaired.

Other devices, valued at approximately $10 million, were previously presented to the Centre for Disability Studies, Mona campus.

Speaking at the official handover ceremony at the Centre, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, said the devices will assist in bridging the digital divide being experienced by members of the community of persons with disabilities.

“What we are experiencing here today is a real sense of empowerment, because we are providing individuals with the tools they need. We are living in an era where technology is the main driver of development. Modern technologies are making it easier for citizens across the globe, and, indeed, persons with disabilities, to be included in this development trajectory,” he said.

The Minister noted that data from a recent study done by Professor Hopeton Dunn indicate that less than one per cent of the population of persons with disabilities has access to the Internet.

“Undoubtedly, this is restricting the potential of this articulate group,” he added.

Dr. Wheatley pointed out that computerised equipment and software are making life more meaningful for persons with disabilities and enabling them to interface with the Internet while communicating instantly with their families and friends across the world.

“I am glad to see that we are incorporating technology not only in the lives of ordinary students on campus but we are ensuring that we are utilising technology to the fullest, so that students with disabilities are also able to participate in national development and be in a position to empower themselves,” he said.

He informed that the Government will be initiating a special project to ensure that persons with disabilities can access the available technologically advanced devices.

Dr. Wheatley further noted that his Ministry will be establishing a special scholarship for persons with disabilities pursuing undergraduate studies.

One of the recipients, André Fisher, who will be graduating from the University of the West Indies, Mona, with first-class honours next month, expressed gratitude for the equipment.

These tools, he said, will enable them to be more “empowered, inspired and be productive in society through the use of technology”.

JIS Social