- Minister appealed to persons to stop discriminating against this vulnerable group
- Children with special needs should be provided with the appropriate intervention
- Government will be increasing its efforts to extend the intervention to other sections of the island
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, is urging Jamaicans to be more supportive of children with special needs.
“They need us more than ever to assist in their overall development. We also need to work much harder as a nation to create a society that is caring and inclusive for the disabled community, in keeping with the goals outlined in the country’s national development plan, Vision 2030, which is ‘to make Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business’,” he said.
Minister Kellier was speaking at the Early Stimulation Programme (ESP) graduation ceremony, held recently at the Apostolic Church of Jamaica in Kingston Gardens.
He noted that there are many challenges involved in caring for a child with a disability, and as a nation, we all need to unite and help them to realise and achieve their goals. He also appealed to persons to stop discriminating against this vulnerable group, because they are a part of the society, and should be given equal opportunities as able-bodied persons.
Minister Kellier pointed out that children with special needs have potential, and should be provided with the appropriate intervention needed to enhance their daily lives.
He commended the work of the ESP, noting that the institution plays a vital role in the lives of children with special needs, and pledged that the Government will be increasing its efforts to extend the intervention to other sections of the island, in due course.
“I know it has not been easy for the caregivers of these children, especially in this challenging economic environment, but I urge you to keep the faith. I salute the ESP staff, parents, aunts, uncles and other relatives, who, over the years, continue to play an integral role in the lives of children with special needs. If it weren’t for your dedication and hard work, where would they be?” he asked.
The Minister also hailed the various supporting organisations for the active role they continue to play in the lives of the disabled community. These include the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD), Abilities Foundation, Jamaica Association for the Deaf (JAD), Salvation Army School for the Blind, and the Combined Disabilities Association.
He added that much more can be done to improve the well-being of persons with disabilities, and that the Ministry will continue its mission to give a voice to the disabled.