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JIS News

The need for Jamaicans to better understand and appreciate the challenges confronting disabled persons in the country, was the major focus of a public education seminar, sponsored by the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities and the project Dedicated to the Development of Persons with Disabilities (3Ds Project), in Port Maria on March 27.
The seminar, part of the effort by the Council to encourage Jamaicans to treat persons with disabilities with respect, addressed issues relating to the Disability Bill that is expected to be tabled in Parliament soon, and provided information about the implication of aging and persons with disabilities, as well as explored terminologies related to different types of disabilities. In addition, issues relating to HIV/AIDS, which are also affecting the disabled community were addressed at the event.
Making presentations were Monica Bartley, Chairperson for the National Disability Bill Committee, who spoke on the topic: ‘Terminology and types of disabilities’; Ann Dobson, Public Relations Officer in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, who spoke on HIV/AIDS and Disabled Persons, and Tate Dobson-White of the National Council for Senior Citizens, who spoke on the topic: ‘Aging and Disability’.
Ransford Wright, Executive Director of the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities, told JIS News that the Council was optimistic that its effort to sensitize Jamaicans about the needs of disabled persons would achieve the desired success.
He said the seminar was one of a series being held in each parish, adding that similar initiatives embarked on in recent years included the Friendly City Programme initiated by former State Minister for Labour and Social Security, Senator Floyd Morrison in 2007, a poster campaign sensitizing persons about ways of communicating effectively with disabled individuals, and the publication of a book on the ‘Do’s’ and ‘Don’ts’ in respect of ways to relate to disabled persons.
Mr. Wright said the Council would be continuing its public education drive to ensure that as many Jamaicans as possible are brought on board in the drive to make the society more friendly to disabled persons, adding that this effort was also in keeping with a directive from the new Minister of State in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Andrew Gallimore, that the Council’s public education programme be intensified and taken to as many communities as possible.
President of the 3Ds Project, Norris Maragh, told JIS News that he was delighted that his organization was involved in sponsoring the seminar.
Meanwhile, participants at the seminar expressed satisfaction with the event, noting that it would go a far way in ensuring that Jamaicans treat disabled persons more appropriately.