JIS News

The Abilities Foundation is a safe haven for persons with disabilities, a place where they can feel loved and accepted.
At this organization, they are equipped with the necessary skills to effectively re-adjust within the society. This re-adjustment is critical for many disabled persons, as it will allow them to live a normal life, where they can provide for themselves and their families.
“For persons with disabilities, it (the Foundation) is, for many of them, an opportunity that they really appreciate. The atmosphere is one of a family; when persons come here for training they do not want to leave, because they are with persons to whom they can identify. We help them to come to a place of acceptance. ‘I have a disability but it doesn’t mean that I’m not worth it and I don’t have something to offer’,” said Managing Director at the Abilities Foundation, Grace Taylor.
By fostering and facilitating their social and emotional re-adjustment, the Foundation provides an opportunity for these socially and economically disadvantaged persons to develop their full potential.
In an interview with JIS News, Miss Taylor informed that the Foundation offered training in five areas, including garment construction, housekeeping, furniture making, data operations and ornamental horticulture and landscaping.
“These programmes are programmes that are done through Heart Trust/ NTA, so on completion they are certified and therefore, like other persons out there in the society, they will be able to say I am employable because I am certified,” she said.
Miss Taylor added that the Foundation tries to ensure that they not only get a skill, but that they have “the appropriate career development skills that they will need.work ethics and the appropriate work attitude that they will need to function in the society.” She noted, however, that although these disabled persons are certified, the employment rate was not very high. “For this current year we have succeeded in getting a number of persons in entry level jobs. The placement is still less than 10 per cent,” she said. The Managing Director said this was so, because in the wider society there was a lack of awareness about persons with disabilities. “Once they hear persons with disabilities they think of someone who is unable to do anything, they think of someone in a wheel chair or someone who is blind and they think that the fact that they can’t move around freely means that they can’t do anything,” she said. “We think that the society needs to be more educated and aware of the fact that these persons may have a limitation in one area, but that does not prevent them from functioning in other areas. We really have to do a lot more in terms of getting out there and getting employers to recognize that these persons can find a place in society and they do have skills that they can offer,” Miss Taylor added. In the meantime, the Foundation is in dire need for financial support. “The programme needs a lot more support and we would be able to do a lot more for them if we had more financial support. that is always a struggle,” she said.
The Abilities Foundation began in 1992 and is a voluntary organization that offers skills training for persons with disabilities, with the aim of providing quality vocational training to persons with disabilities to enable them to function as creative and productive citizens in the society. The Foundation has certified just over 1,000 persons since its inception.

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