JIS News

Story Highlights

  • More than 20 young people from St. James, with mild intellectual disabilities, have benefitted from employment training at a three week non-residential camp organised by the National Youth Service (NYS).
  • The camp represents the first phase of the NYS’ Empowerment Programme, which is being rolled out simultaneously in five parishes across Jamaica.
  • Held under the theme: ‘I don’t have a disability; I have a different ability,’ participants benefitted from personal and professional/career development skills required for the labour force.

More than 20 young people from St. James, with mild intellectual disabilities, have benefitted from employment training at a three week non-residential camp organised by the National Youth Service (NYS).

The camp, held at the St. John’s Methodist Church Hall in Montego Bay from February 2 to 23, represents the first phase of the NYS’ Empowerment Programme, which is being rolled out simultaneously in five parishes across Jamaica.

Held under the theme: ‘I don’t have a disability; I have a different ability,’ participants benefitted from personal and professional/career development skills required for the labour force.

Executive Director of the NYS, Melvin Smith, in his address at a graduation ceremony held to conclude the camp, commended the 20 participants for successfully completing the programme.

“The NYS support team is encouraging you to continuously seek out and keep on the path of excellence, because excellence for us at NYS is performance and achievement beyond expectations,” he said.

Mr. Smith called on the society to give the fullest support to disabled persons in order for them to achieve their full potential.

He informed that the NYS is in the process of developing initiatives to sensitize citizens “about the plight of young people with disabilities and also their abilities, and the need for us to embrace, encourage and empower them to use those abilities for their personal development and that of their communities and the entire nation”.

“We, at NYS, propose to do this through partnership with private sector stakeholders. I am therefore asking that all of us here today, resolve to contribute to a kinder, more engaging and empowering environment and to display more positive behaviour towards our brothers and sisters, who are members of the community of persons with disabilities,” he urged.

The main objective of the Empowerment Programme is to improve the personal, professional and social capacity of the participants.

They will now be engaged in six months of job experience where they will be introduced to the world of work.