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JIS News

The Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities will be staging an Economic Empowerment Seminar on Thursday, October 8, at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, 1F North Street, Kingston, beginning at 10:00 a.m.

The workshop, which is held on a quarterly basis, will cater to forty-five persons with special needs, who have applied for a grant from the Council, to start income generating projects.

Public Education Officer at the Council, Adrienne Pinnock, informed JIS News that the seminar will also provide a platform for recipients to be guided in the right direction, regarding their respective business ventures.

“We are using these seminars to open horizons for persons with disabilities, because oftentimes, persons with disabilities are not provided with adequate employment opportunities  to better their lives,” she explained.

She pointed out that over the years, the seminar mainly concentrated on vending and agriculture, but has now expanded to others areas, such as dress, curtain and drapery making.

“We want to give persons with special needs the opportunity to generate some income for themselves, to live an independent life. While we preach inclusion and participation, we want persons with special needs to be self-sufficient, and to contribute meaningfully to nation building,” she said.

Ms. Pinnock appealed to financial agencies that offer micro business opportunities to come on board and render assistance, by offering these prospective entrepreneurs loans or advice, concerning their area of focus.

“We want financial agencies to start playing an integral role, by making loans accessible to this particular community, enabling business growth and development,” she said.

Ms. Pinnock is encouraging persons with disabilities to utilise the services provided, and also the information that will be presented at the seminar, to develop their individual ventures.

Recipients will receive grants ranging from a minimum of $20,000 to $100,000 maximum, to start their businesses.

Participating agencies include: the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), First Heritage Co-operative Credit Union, the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), and the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).