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Disabilities Awareness Week to Focus on Accessibility

By: , December 1, 2023
Disabilities Awareness Week to Focus on Accessibility
Photo: Adrian Walker
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr. (right), presents special needs student Delano Clarke (centre) with school supplies donated by Digicel Foundation at Stimulation Plus Child Development Centre on Hanover Street in downtown Kingston on Monday (August 21). Sharing in the presentation is Digicel Education and Special Needs Project Officer, Jeneard Williamson.

The Full Story

The issue of accessibility for the disabled will be the focus for Disabilities Awareness Week 2023, which will be observed from December 3 to 8 under the theme ‘Inclusion in Action: Building Accessible Communities’.

Speaking in an interview with JIS News, Executive Director of the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD), Dr. Christine Hendricks, said that “accessibility for persons with disabilities is critical to enable their right to participate and to be included in society on an equal basis with others”.

“Without access to the built environment, without access to communication, without access to employment, education, healthcare and so on, people who have disabilities will be left behind,” she pointed out.

Executive Director, Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD), Dr. Christine Hendricks.

Disabilities Awareness Week will get under way with a national church service at the New Town Independent Baptist Church in Hayes, Clarendon, on December 3, starting at 11:00 am.

International Day for Persons with Disabilities will be commemorated on the day.

Dr. Hendricks said the week will be highlighted by the media launch of the Accessibility Checklist at AC Hotel in Kingston on Monday, December 4. She explained that the checklist provides guidelines to organisations on how to ensure that “their built environment, their space, their information, their website is accessible to persons with disabilities”.

Two hybrid national disability validation sensitisation sessions are scheduled for December 5 and 6 at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Regional Headquarters, Mona, and Hilton Rose Hall Hotel, Montego Bay, respectively.

Dr. Hendricks said the sensitisation sessions will provide an opportunity to explore the status of persons with disabilities and “recommendations on how we can make our society a better place to include these individuals”.

On Thursday, December 7, the JCPD, in partnership with the Legal Aid Council, will host an exposition themed ‘Justice without Barriers: Fostering Access, Inclusion, and Rights’.

This will be held at the Harmony Beach Park in Montego Bay from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

“People with disabilities also need justice, and so we have to share, with the community, the services the Legal Aid Council can offer them free of cost,” Dr. Hendricks pointed out.

The week of activities will culminate on Friday, December 8, with a review of the Code of Practice for Education and Training, at the Montego Bay Community College, starting at 9:00 a.m.

“This is to ensure that we [give] sound guidance to the education sector, people with disabilities and the society at large as to what inclusion in education and training should look like for [the disabled community],” Dr. Hendricks said.

She is inviting members of the public to come out and support Disabilities Awareness Week.

The schedule of activities will be posted on the Council’s website at www.jcpd.gov.jm and on Instagram and Facebook @jcpdja.

The JCPD is an agency under the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.

It promotes the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities in accordance with national policies, plans and programmes, including facilitating their educational, economic and social development.

Last Updated: December 1, 2023

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