- Approximately 400 persons living with disabilities are given assistance each year by the JCPD.
- The JCPD has been able to disburse $15 million in grants to the disabled community.
- The JCPD provides assistance to its members for educational purposes, personal care staff, medical assistance and assists with paying bills for its members.
Approximately 400 persons living with disabilities are given assistance each year by the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD).
Since 2008, through government funding, the JCPD has been able to disburse $15 million in grants to the disabled community. Of that sum, $10 million was allocated to the Economic Empowerment Grant (EEG) and $5 million to the Assistive Aid programme.
Executive Director of the JCPD, Christine Hendricks, tells JIS News that the EEG provides funds to applicants, who are required to be registered with the JCPD and are mainly unemployed or earning less than $30,000 annually. However, the grant primarily offers an entrepreneurial opportunity for those with viable business ideas seeking self employment.
“This is a start and with the start, they can prove themselves and then approach lending institutions,” Ms. Hendricks explains.
Nickisha Williams is a recipient of the EEG, and admits she has always wanted to start her own business. She heard about the assistance available from the JCPD from a social worker, who is assigned to the Council.
She began her own chicken rearing business, having received chicken and feed for the start-up, about three years ago. From the profit, she was able to pay her medical bills.
Ms. Hendricks points out these grants from the JCPD have empowered and enhanced the livelihood of the recipients, especially those who continue to face discrimination.
“They can assist themselves to live, earn their way through and contribute to the economy of their own family. It is important for persons living with disabilities to be economically independent, so this is a means of starting that process,” she shares.
In addition to the grant, the Executive Director says that the Assistive Aid also helps persons who “need a hearing aid, wheel chair or prosthesis – anything that makes persons function better.”
She also notes that the JCPD provides assistance to its members for educational purposes, personal care staff, medical assistance and assists with paying bills for its members. Through partnerships with the National Housing Trust, Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health, the JCPD advocates for incentives for the betterment of persons living with disabilities.
Ms. Hendricks is appealing to persons living with disabilities, especially those living in the rural areas, to apply to the JCPD for assistance.
For further information, persons may contact the JCPD at 18 Ripon Road, Kingston 5 or collect an application form at the Ministry of Labour’s parish offices or at the Combined Disabilities Association.