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KINGSTON — The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) and the Ministry of Education have partnered to produce a Braille format of the popular 88-page popular version of the Jamaica National Development Plan – the 400-page Vision 2030 Jamaica.

Approximately 500 copies of the translated Braille format are being produced by the Ministry’s Special Education Unit, for distribution to agencies and organisations that support the visually challenged.

The PIOJ presented copies of the Braille format to representatives of the Jamaica Society for the Blind; Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities; Combined Disabilities Association; Salvation Army School for the Blind and Visually Impaired; Abilities Foundation; and Creative Craft Plus, at a handing over ceremony at the office of the Jamaica Society for the Blind, Old Hope Road, St. Andrew, yesterday April 20.

Copies are also being distributed to the Jamaica Library Service (JLS), and the Centre for Disability Studies, University of the West Indies, Mona, St. Andrew, for utilisation by their stakeholders.

Speaking at the ceremony, PIOJ Director General, Dr. Gladstone Hutchinson, underscored the importance of the undertaking, and the inclusiveness of all key target groups in the society.

“This is a very critical step in our commitment to making sure that all of us have an opportunity to be productive, to participate, to be inclusive, and to be an agent of our country’s development. So, at the Planning Institute of Jamaica, there is nothing that we do that is more important, than what (the presentation) represents. And, we say this against the background of having just completed the national strategy for the growth and development of the country’s economy,” he said.

“That is why this is so critical, because something of this nature, the translation of Vision 2030 popular version in Braille, which allows all of our citizens to participate in the growth and development of the country and their own development, is the essence of how we aspire to achieve Vision 2030 Jamaica,” Dr.  Hutchinson added.

In her remarks, Assistant Chief Education Officer, Special Education Unit, Ministry of Education, June Hamilton, said she was “extremely happy” for the partnership forged by the Ministry and the PIOJ, which has facilitated the Braille translation of Vision 2030 Jamaica.

“This will enable those who are blind and visually impaired to have access, and in so doing, join the discussion and the action in making Jamaica the choice place to live, raise families, work and do business,” she said.

For his part, State Minister, Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Andrew Gallimore said that the translation of the Vision 2030 document into Braille re-assures persons with disabilities that the PIOJ, in going forward with the National Development Plan, “has the community of disabled persons in Jamaica, front and centre."

Noting the quick time in which the translation was done, Mr. Gallimore said it is  very difficult for persons without disabilities to fully appreciate and understand that, given an opportunity and the right tools,  persons with disabilities can do “pretty much anything that we allow them to do, by giving them that access."

Responding on behalf of the recipients, Managing Director, Abilities Foundation, Susan Hamilton expressed her gratitude for the copies, describing the Braille translation as a “forward step."

Vision 2030 Jamaica is the country’s first long-term national development plan, which aims at enabling Jamaica to achieve developed country status by 2030.  It is based on a comprehensive vision: “Jamaica, the place of choice to live, works, raise families and do business."                                         

                                        

By DOUGLAS McINTOSH, JIS Reporter