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Story Highlights

  • The Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) is seeking to create greater access to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for members of the disabled community.
  • Executive Director of the JCPD, Christine Hendricks, recently returned to the island from a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) sponsored conference.
  • Mrs. Hendricks said the conference provided an opportunity to see exactly what is available on the international scene and how Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean can give members of the disabled community access to technologies that will improve their daily lives.

The Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) is seeking to create greater access to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for members of the disabled community.

Executive Director of the JCPD, Christine Hendricks, recently returned to the island from a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) sponsored conference, which discussed the role of ICTs for persons with disabilities, and is eager to see Jamaica make progress in this area.

Mrs. Hendricks said the conference provided an opportunity to see exactly what is available on the international scene and how Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean can give members of the disabled community access to technologies that will improve their daily lives.

She told JIS News that some persons with disabilities on the island still do not have access to ICTs for a number of reasons.

“We know that there has always been that technology out there, especially with smart phones, but for persons in the community, sometimes they do not know how it works, while for most the cost is usually out of their affordability level,” she said.

Mrs. Hendricks informed that the Council has been doing its part by supporting its members through the provision of assistive devices that have made integration easier for them.

She said that coming out of the conference, she has a number of recommendations that if implemented, could see the further incorporation of the disabled in the wider society.

Among the recommendations are an exposition with key partners that should raise awareness of the available technologies; the creation of a catalogue of assistive technologies and ICT devices; and minimum standards for the creation of websites to make them accessible to persons with disabilities.

The JCPD Head pointed out that Jamaica is “far ahead of its Caribbean counterparts on disability matters.”

Themed: ‘From Exclusion to Empowerment: The Role of ICTs for Persons with Disabilities’, the conference was held from November 24 to 26 in New Delhi, India.

The objectives of the discussions were to promote the human rights and fundamental freedoms of persons with disabilities and encourage stakeholders to take measures for the empowerment of such persons through the use of ICTs.

The Disabilities Act has been approved by Parliament. The law now makes provision for the safeguarding and welfare of persons with disabilities. The JCPD is the body charged with responsibility to ensure that these provisions are met.

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