Society must be “reorganised” to include persons with visual disability

─ First Lady at launch of orientation and mobility programme

First Lady, Her Excellency Arya Ali, said society needs to be reorganised, so that persons living with visual disabilities are not left out of economic opportunities.

The First Lady said Guyanese, especially those with visual disorders must be able to move safely and independently.

(From left) President of ExxonMobil, Mr. Alistair Routledge, Leroy Phillips, Disability Rights advocate, First Lady, H.E. Arya Ali, US Ambassador to Guyana, H.E. Sarah Ann Lynch and GCOPD Programme Coordinator, Mr. Ganesh Singh.

Mrs. Ali was at the time delivering the feature remarks at the launch of the orientation and mobility programme for the visually impaired and blind, at State House on Tuesday. 

“Not only would this help to build self-awareness and raise their level of confidence, it is also a necessary step towards integration of these persons into the home, community and by extension the labour force. This should be our ultimate goal to ensure that these persons are equipped and empowered to live independent lives and determine the direction of their future…

First Lady, Her Excellency Arya Ali calls on the society to be reorganised

“In every facet of life, we must be conscious of the limitations of persons with disabilities and reorganise our society in such a way that they are not excluded,” the First Lady said.

She said the initiative is an important step in building a “one Guyana”, since it seeks to support the independence for persons who are blind and visually impaired to be culturally accepted and equally included in society.

Meanwhile, Programme Coordinator attached to the Guyana Council of Organisation for Persons with Disabilities (GCOPD), Mr. Ganesh Singh said the programme will enable blind and visually impaired persons to be independent and be reintegrated into society.

Programme Coordinator, GCOPD, Ganesh Singh

“Without orientation and mobility persons who are blind and visually impaired will be lost. Many of them will be sitting at home and depend on people to assist them to do simple things that they could do on their own,” Mr. Singh said.

He added that the programme will benefit approximately 500 persons with visual disabilities, allowing them to study and gain the necessary skills needed for employment.

United States Ambassador to Guyana, Ms. Sarah Ann Lynch said the United States Embassy is committed to empowering persons with disabilities, noting that all developmental programmes should consider the diversity of participants, including persons with disabilities.

A section of persons attending the ceremony.

“While programmes like this are needed to build confidence and life skills, I would advocate that any development programme whether it be related to agriculture or entrepreneurship or virtually any sector, from leadership development to education, there should always be consideration for the diversity of the participants to include persons with disabilities,” she said.

The orientation and mobility programme is a collaborative effort between the GCOPD, Exxon Mobil Guyana and the Office of First Lady, to combat the issues affecting this group of people.

Also attending the significant ceremony were; President of ExxonMobil, Mr. Alistair Routledge and British High Commissioner to Guyana, Her Excellency Jane Miller.