USF Assists the Disabled Community

Story Highlights

  • The Universal Service Fund (USF) continues to give assistance to the disabled community by including in their summer employee cohort someone who is a deaf mute.
  • Chief Executive Officer at the USF, Suzette Buchanan, told JIS News that the agency has given a great deal of support to the disabled community over the years, and “we are now stepping up and answering to that responsibility, as the Telecommunications Act speaks to the USF paying special attention to those who are disabled”.
  • The CEO said that they wanted to support the community, as she believes that persons born with the inability to communicate conventionally would greatly benefit from the use of technological devices such as tablets.

The Universal Service Fund (USF) continues to give assistance to the disabled community by including in their summer employee cohort someone who is a deaf mute.

Chief Executive Officer at the USF, Suzette Buchanan, told JIS News that the agency has given a great deal of support to the disabled community over the years, and “we are now stepping up and answering to that responsibility, as the Telecommunications Act speaks to the USF paying special attention to those who are disabled”.

She said that, sometimes, persons who are born disabled are “stigmatised and forgotten about”.

However, working with them, she can attest to the fact that they are just as normal as everyone else, which is why the USF has decided to employ the summer worker who is able to function in a normal way.

Ms. Buchanan said that as part of the thrust earlier this year, the Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, through the initiative of the USF, took some members of the disabled community to lunch and presented them with devices as well as modems.

The CEO said that they wanted to support the community, as she believes that persons born with the inability to communicate conventionally would greatly benefit from the use of technological devices such as tablets.

“We are talking about technology and communication, bridging the information gap, and Internet access for everyone,” she explained.

Over the years, the USF has given millions of dollars in support to the disabled community, including the Jamaica Association for the Deaf, Abilities Foundation, Jamaica Society for Persons with Disabilities, Salvation Army School for the Blind, St. Christopher’s School for the Deaf, Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre, and the University of the West Indies Centre for Disability Studies.

Additionally, the CEO said that the USF is in the process of giving support to the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities in the form of devices which will assist in capturing data for persons with disabilities across the island.

She pointed out that the USF intends to partner with them in the advertising campaign to get more disabled persons to register.

She noted that only 30 per cent of disabled persons are currently registered in the Council’s database.

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