Gov’t working to remove stigma associated with persons living with disabilities

─ as $100,000 ‘special needs fund’ rolls out in Region Five

The PPP/C Administration is working diligently to remove all discrimination and stigma attached to persons living with disabilities (PWDs) through the first-ever distribution of the $100,000 ‘special needs fund’.

The move is in keeping with government’s manifesto promise to improve conditions for persons with special needs, including children living with disabilities, through the creation of improved facilities, services and job opportunities.

Minister Persaud in Fort Wellington

Human Services and Social Security Minister, Dr Vindhya Persaud told the Department of Public Information (DPI) that government is making strides in removing the stigma attached to persons living with disabilities.

“I think the fact that we are giving a one-off cash grant is showing the Ministry of Human Services’ commitment directly as well as government’s commitment; I think that that tells you how serious we are about stigma and about discrimination in particular because our cash grant is all inclusive ensuring that every child- child being defined as 18 years and below, is included from the hinterland to the coastland. So, that is removing discrimination with stigma.”

The minister was at the time facilitating the distribution of the fund at the Fort Wellington, Child Care and Protection Agency, Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) on Wednesday.

Parents and Guardians were grateful and, in some cases, sentimental upon receiving the grant on behalf of their children.

Ms. O’Donoghue Noel

Catalina O’Donoghue Noel was thankful for the timely contribution.

“Emmanuel, he has hernia and a hole in his heart and a girl she has an enlarge heart and liver and dyslexia – learning disabilities, as a single parent it’s a little tough… but I thank God still and I am grateful for today…at least it’s going to go a long way… I was scared and afraid to go out, but [with the ministry’s help] now I am not afraid or ashamed that my child has learning disabilities”

Ms. Fayeaun Johnson also expressed gratitude for the assistance.

Parent, Ms. Fayeaun Johnson

“My child is with a disability 14 years now, she don’t do nothing for herself. I have to do everything for her, even her pampers. Taking her to school, going back for her and doing everything for her since she was one.”

Asked how the grant improves the life of her child she said,as a single parent it is hard and I am thankful to the government and I hope it continues.

“…I feel for the very first time I could have hold something form her to assist her from her day to day eating, clothing everything, I am so thankful for whatsoever come and may the lord bless the person who pays that attention to these kids… because most of the children does be financially embarrassed with a lot of things,” another parent, Keith Bryan Johnson told DPI.

Parent, Keith Bryan Johnson

Minister Persaud highlighted a number of initiatives being rolled out to reduce the constraints faced by parents and guardians caring for children with disabilities.

Among the programmes are the provision of free pampers, wheel chairs, hearing aids and white canes through the Difficult Circumstances Unit.

The ministry is also offering free technical and vocational training programmes which would enable adolescents and adults to gain employment. The programmes include Information and Communications Technology (ICT), with special emphasis using the jaw’s software for the visually impaired persons, garment construction, business management and marketing, among others.

Parents and Guardians waiting to collect the special needs grant

His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali demonstrated his government’s commitment to improving the livelihood of PWDs when he announced the $100,000 cash grant in June 2022.

To further provide support to the vulnerable community, the president committed to having a classroom in every region dedicated to educating PWDs . This is his government’s vision of building an environment which caters to the needs of persons living with disabilities.