KINGSTON — Trelawny will be the area of focus for the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD), as the organisation observes Disability Awareness Week from November 27 to December 3, under the theme: ‘Together for a Better World for All… Including Persons with Disabilities in Development’.
The week-long activities will commence with a Thanksgiving Service at the William Knibb Memorial Baptist Church on Sunday (November 27), followed by a concert at 2:00 p.m. to showcase the talents of persons with disabilities in and around the parish.
On Monday (November 28) the Council will be conducting a series of presentations in a number of schools in the parish, to educate students and teachers about how to treat persons with disabilities.
The schools to be visited are Daniel Town Primary, Hague Primary, Falmouth All-Age, Duncan’s All-Age, and Holland High and William Knibb High Schools.
“We want the school community to understand that persons with disabilities are a part of the society, and should be allowed to contribute to the developmental process of the nation, rather than being locked away. We are exploring all the possible avenues to educate them about how to treat persons with disabilities,” Executive Director of the JCPD, Christine Hendricks, told JIS News.
She informed that different parishes are chosen annually, and Trelawny was selected to be the parish of focus for 2011.
Mrs. Hendricks said the Council is committed to sensitising the public that persons with disabilities have capabilities, and can be valuable contributors to the society.
The activities continue on Tuesday (November 29) with a public Health Fair at the Ulster Spring Baptist Church, in an effort to highlight the work of the Council and the services offered.
“Our main focus is to cater for persons, including children with disabilities, because usually when these services come into the area, members of the disabled community do not benefit, so we are hoping that they will benefit from this activity,” she said.
There will also be other events in St. Catherine and Kingston. The Portmore Self Help DisabilityOrganisation will be staging its public awareness march on Wednesday, November 30, at 4:00 p.m. in sections of the municipality.
In addition, the Early Stimulation Programme (ESP) will be hosting an awards ceremony on November 30, at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. Over 40 parents will be recognised at the function. Minister of State in the Ministry, Hon. Andrew Gallimore, will address the ceremony.
On Thursday, December 1, there will be a health fair at the ESP’s Office, 95 Hanover Street, downtown Kingston. “We will be providing a variety of health screenings for persons with disabilities, including basic and primary school children,” Mrs. Hendricks said.
The Council will be staging a family fun day at the University of Technology (UTech) on Friday, December 2. This activity is geared towards engaging persons with disabilities in numerous sporting activities, such as football and basketball.
The activities will conclude with the observance of International Day for Persons with Disabilities on Saturday, December 3, with a grand Exposition and Concert at Emancipation Park in Kingston. The concert will showcase a mixture of talents from the Salvation Army School for the Blind, School of Hope, and the Lister Mair Gilby School for the Deaf, supported by Unique Vision Band.
Disability Awareness Week has been observed in Jamaica since 1994, and is supported by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, the Heart Foundation of Jamaica, UTech, the Church, the Jamaica Association for the Deaf, the Jamaican Association on Intellectual Disabilities, and the McCam Child Care and Development Centre.
For further information, persons can contact the JCPD at 968-8373 or 926-9374-5.
By Jeneva Gordon, JIS PRO