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JIS News

More than 30 female students of the Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf (CCCD), Mandeville campus, benefited from a recent workshop geared at empowering them with risk reduction methods for HIV/AIDS, as well as self defence techniques to protect them from being abused.
The event was put on by the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD), in collaboration with the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
Guidance Counsellor at the CCCD, Icilda deMercado told JIS News that the JCPD has been putting on these workshops for deaf young women throughout the island.
“The workshops have been going very well . our students have benefited from what they’ve heard so far, and they have been involved, asking questions and demonstrating that they understand what is being said and done,” she said.
Mrs. deMercado said the main focus is on sensitization and clearing up some of the myths that are related to HIV/AIDS.
“We are also empowering deaf young women and introducing them to different skills, such as floral arrangement, cosmetology as well as straw craft,” the Guidance Counsellor said.
Mrs. deMercado said she hoped that at the end of the day, the students “will be empowered and have a high level of confidence, knowing that if somebody wants to abuse them in any way, they can say no and if they are abused, there are channels that they can go through so that their rights can be upheld”.
Executive Director of the JCPD, Ransford Wright, said that since 2004 the Council has been targeting persons who are hearing impaired and deaf, as there were few interpreters in the island. “We found it much more important to be delving into this population and to work closely with them,” he said.
He noted that last year the Council received a grant from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to work with deaf women, “looking at self enhancement for deaf women, mostly in the Corporate Area and in Clarendon”.
“We did a programme and we found out that the deaf persons were not very aware about HIV/AIDS,” Mr. Wright said, adding that a request was made to UNAIDS and the project was approved in December, 2005. “So, here we are in Mandeville doing our last workshop of this project,” he noted.
The workshop had presenters from various organizations, including Jamaica AIDS Support sharing on topics, such as ‘HIV and Me’, ‘Implications of HIV/AIDS on Deaf Women and Girls’, and ‘Self Defence among the Hearing Impaired’.