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JIS News

Story Highlights

  • JCPD has disbursed more than $3 million, to 46 persons from the disabled community through its economic empowerment grant.
  • The grants are given to disabled persons who have, or are in the process of starting a business that will “facilitate economic development and independence”.
  • The grants “assist disabled persons to better their lives because so many persons with disabilities are unemployed.”

The Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) has disbursed more than $3 million, to 46 persons from the disabled community through its economic empowerment grant.

Executive Director of JCPD, Christine Hendricks told JIS News that the grants are given to disabled persons who have, or are in the process of starting a business that will “facilitate economic development and independence”.

She added, that the grants “assist disabled persons to better their lives because so many persons with disabilities are unemployed.”

One of the recipients of the economic empowerment grant, chicken farmer, Uken Thomas told JIS News that the $75,000 he received will go a far way in helping to sustain his business.

Mr. Thomas who has been visually impaired since childhood, has been a chicken farmer for more than 35 years, and admits to facing several challenges prior to getting financial assistance from the JCPD.

“Before I got the grant, I was experiencing challenges because I could not afford to adequately care for my chickens. Sometimes, I had to kill them before they were mature because I did not have the money to feed them,” he said.

The Portland resident and member of the JCPD also expressed gratitude for the work of the Council. He encouraged other persons with disabilities to become a part of the Disabilities Council.

“Do so, because it will improve your life,” Mr. Thomas stressed.

Recipients also received basic training from the Jamaica Business Development Corporation in the areas of costing, book keeping, and marketing.

Ms. Hendricks further indicated that more than $1 million in grants will be issued to other qualified applicants later this month.

To qualify for grants persons must first register with the JCPD and submit an application, which will be reviewed by the sub-committee of the national advisory board. Persons can also apply for the assistive aid grant, to purchase equipment or instruments that will make them more independent.

Under the facility, an individual can receive up to $150,000, while groups can get a maximum of $450,000. Since 2009 the Government has contributed $15 million annually, to the grant.