Govt providing skills training opportunities to persons living with disabilities

Disability is not inability’ – ‘Learning Lab’ participants

The government is providing skills training for persons living with disabilities (PWDs) through the Learning Lab of the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security.

This has led to the persons Living with disabilities declaring on Tuesday that a having a disability does not mean that they an inability to perform any task satisfactorily well as they embark on a journey of skills development in garment construction.

Bibi Farrose

One of the course’s participants, 20-year-old Bibi Farrose, who faces the challenges of Cerebral Palsy, emphasised her gratitude for the opportunity extended by the government.

“This is a hobby that I am very interested in..When I saw that the ministry was running a program, I decided to join. It’s a good way to start a livelihood for myself…It’s a good way to pass my time. It is a great thing because it shows that everybody can be different, but you can still do the same thing because disability is not inability,” she said.

Raul Narine

Raul Narine, an 18-year-old participant with speech and hearing impairments, proudly shares his achievement with the Department of Public Information (DPI).

“So I can sew my own clothes. I feel very happy because this is my first time trying it, and I made a button shirt, pants, and a bag”, he added.

He further expressed his interest in becoming an entrepreneur stating that he “wants to start a business of my own.”

Renny Maison

Another participant, Renny Maison, a 34-year-old who struggles with difficulty walking, explains her motivation.

“I joined the program to further enhance my sewing skills, and so far, it’s very good because the teachers are very patient. They assist you even if you have no experience. When they finish with one person, they will assist you from wherever you understand, and they would go over with you again and again. So, it’s nice,” Maison said.

Additionally, Garment Construction Trainer Geeta Outar, who herself has been sewing since the age of 18, enthusiastically said “It’s a pleasure working with them because their enthusiasm is so much. It’s so much that it excites me to train them.

Garment Construction Trainer Geeta Outar

They want to do something. They want to learn something, and they want to go out into the world and be among people. That alone excites me to be with them. I am happy that the government reached out to do this because I have always wanted to give back and empower women…,” she related to the DPI.

Meanwhile, the Technical Officer Responsible for Support Services for Persons with Disabilities Unit, Mahendra Budhram emphasised the impact of the programme, noting that persons have since developed a sense of camaraderie.

Technical Officer Responsible for Support Services for Persons with Disabilities Unit, Mahendra Budhram

“What I have found with the groups of persons that I have trained with disabilities is that there is a sense of camaraderie. They help each other, and they seem to be more involved and more joyful to have the opportunity to interact with each other,” according to Budram.

The Learning Lab has already trained over 100 individuals living with disabilities since its inception.  Currently, 72 participants are actively engaged.

Plans are in place to train another 50 to 80 individuals before the end of November, with training extending to various regions across Guyana such as Region One, Three, and Nine.

The program includes a wide range of courses such as basic computer skills, Job Access with Speech (JAWS) for the visually impaired, and Garment Construction.

Person with Disability being trained

To ensure personalised attention, class sizes are kept small, typically consisting of 15 to 18 participants.

Additional programmes in Adult Literacy and Numeracy are slated to come on board with the aim of reintegrating persons with disabilities into society.

The ministry is also exploring the launch of sustainable agriculture and audio and visual editing programmes, poised to benefit every region with a cohort of 10-15 interested participants.

They are willing to bring on stream any course once 15-18 persons from an area are interested.

This inclusive approach demonstrates the government’s commitment to empowering all citizens, regardless of their abilities, to lead fulfilling and productive lives.