• Feature
    President and Founder of the Nathan Ebanks Foundation (NEF), Christine Staple-Ebanks, displays a copy of the second edition of the organisation’s publication – “Children and Special Needs Guide to Resource in Jamaica’ - during a recent forum at the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) in Kingston
    President and Founder of the Nathan Ebanks Foundation (NEF), Christine Staple-Ebanks, displays a copy of the second edition of the organisation’s publication – “Children and Special Needs Guide to Resource in Jamaica’ - during a recent forum at the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) in Kingston
    Photo: Adrian Walker

    Story Highlights

    • “For the families of persons living with disabilities, the matter of disaster preparedness takes on a whole different realm when you look at how we live our day to day lives, how we move about and how we live in our homes,” says NEF President and Founder, Christine Staple-Ebanks.
    • The document provides information on climate change and disaster preparedness, including guidelines on preparing an emergency plan and kit for persons with disabilities, and their caregivers.
    • “What we would like to see is the Nathan Ebanks Foundation and other agencies in the sector being able to come in and work with the different organisations to help them become more ready and more prepared to work with persons with disabilities. Whatever policies are needed to be in place, we can assist with that. Invite us around the table so that we can lend planning to that process,” she states.

    The Nathan Ebanks Foundation (NEF) has partnered with several Government agencies to raise the level of inclusive planning required for effective and efficient service delivery to persons with disabilities in Jamaica.

    The Jamaica Fire Brigade and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) are two of the principal agencies with which the NEF has collaborated.

    “For the families of persons living with disabilities, the matter of disaster preparedness takes on a whole different realm when you look at how we live our day to day lives, how we move about and how we live in our homes,” says NEF President and Founder, Christine Staple-Ebanks.

    She emphasizes the importance of first responders knowing how to treat with persons with disabilities, especially those with manifestations not readily visible or easily identified.

    “It is important for the first responders assigned to various neighbourhoods to know which homes have a family member with a disability and how to manage that. If you have someone who is bipolar or has schizophrenia and is off their medication, that person looks like you and I, and trying to evacuate them will not happen. That’s a dangerous situation,” Mrs. Staple-Ebanks tells JIS News.

    The NEF has also partnered with the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation through the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience in the Climate Change Division.

    This partnership has yielded the publication of the Foundation’s biennial ‘Children and Special Needs Guide to Resource in Jamaica’.

    The document provides information on climate change and disaster preparedness, including guidelines on preparing an emergency plan and kit for persons with disabilities, and their caregivers.

    “We have printed a thousand copies of this and we will also be producing it in Braille and in audio books. Our commitment to the conversation is that everywhere we go, we will be taking the message of disaster preparedness and resilience management to persons with disabilities. We have been going around to schools and different groups and sharing the publication [which] is free,” the NEF President informs.

    Mrs. Staple-Ebanks expresses the hope that entities planning public events will take advantage of the Foundation’s resources to assist in facilitating persons with disabilities.

    “What we would like to see is the Nathan Ebanks Foundation and other agencies in the sector being able to come in and work with the different organisations to help them become more ready and more prepared to work with persons with disabilities. Whatever policies are needed to be in place, we can assist with that. Invite us around the table so that we can lend planning to that process,” she states.

    Mrs. Staple-Ebanks says the Foundation will continue to link agencies and organizations in Jamaica with persons with disabilities, so that the needs of this vulnerable group can be articulated and fulfilled.

    The Nathan Ebanks Foundation, which was established in 2007, is a registered Jamaican non-profit organization that works for the inclusion, participation, and empowerment of persons with disabilities, particularly children, and special education in Jamaica.