Sod turned for Business Center for people living with disabilities in Region Six

‘We want to fuel economic growth, change lives’ – First Lady Ali

Persons living with disabilities are expected to see their lives improved now that the sod has been turned for a spanking new State-of-art Business Center in the ancient county, Berbice.

The business and development center will be located at in Palmyra Village, East Berbice/Corentyne next to the entrance of the Berbice River Bridge. It will support entrepreneurs and creators from across the country but will focus on the persons living with disability in Region Six.

An artist impression of the business centre for Persons with Disabilities

The center, the first of its kind in Berbice, is geared towards product manufacturing and retailing. It will offer Guyanese, who are differently abled, a chance at training and individual therapy.

It will be constructed through the Housing and Water Ministry.

It will also see the construction started in the August month-end and will be operationalize by the Office of the First Lady who will furnish the modern edifice. The Office will also handle the provision of the “startup capital” that will be required to get the building going in the fields of production, marketing, and sales.

Speaking at the Sod Turning Ceremony held on Thursday, First Lady Arya Ali lauded the initiative to construct this modern business center, noting that this move is significant at this time when the country is booming and growing faster than it has ever before.

She noted that the center when completed, will have a total of five working stations to handle the manufacturing of products from crafts to snacks.

Mrs. Ali added that have a boardroom for meetings and training. It will compromise, she added, rooms dedicated to therapy, cafeteria break, and other washroom facilities.

“The plan is to have those persons with disabilities who already make products manufacture them here and then supply to the local and even regional markets”,

First Lady of Guyana, Mrs Arya Ali

the First Lady said before mentioning that the aim is to empower them.

According to Mrs. Ali, redefining the possibilities of persons living with disabilities is very important because many of them are at risk of poverty caused by the lack of education and employment. 

Mrs. Ali noted too, that “persons with disabilities must be empowered through effective engagement in economic, social and political life. 

“These gestures are only the beginning of what is a monumental task of ensuring we advance and protect the rights of persons with disabilities”, Mrs Ali said.

She announced that training and entrepreneurial assistance is also going to be offered by the center.  Also, the first lady said that the Guyana National Bureau of Standards will monitor and regulate the production of some of the products with the intention of issuing the Made in Guyana certification.

All of this, she emphasized, will go a far away in the medium to long-term plan of having the products sold online to regional and international customers.

Meanwhile, the Coordinator of the Guyana Council of Organizations for Persons with Disabilities, Ganesh Singh heaped praises to the office of the First Lady for seeing the need for the establishment of a business center.

He said it is visionary and transformative before saying it is something that persons have never seen before.

Singh mentioned the poor state of persons living with disabilities and the high incidence of unemployment.

“With this center that will change. You will have persons with disabilities gaining employment hence lifting themselves out of poverty. I am very humbled as an advocate and someone with a disability to know that we have people that care, and they care to improve our lives…I never thought it would been a reality so fast”, Singh stressed.

Human Services and Social Security Minister, Dr. Vindyah Persaud also thanked the First Lady for their zeal and commitment to enhancing the lives of all Guyanese, especially those who are living with disabilities.

“Since the inception, this government would have laser focus on persons living with disabilities. We have from the onset not only said that we would cater for persons living with disabilities, every action, every initiative, and every program…. demonstrates that we are delivering”, Minister Persaud said. 

She said partnerships and collaborations are the steps in the right directions that results in the forward movement of people living with disabilities.

“The whole hallmark of this government is empowerment, opportunities, inclusion, and ensuring that people have access to everything”, she said.

Moving from a state of dependence to independence, Dr. Persaud said, is the aim of this project.

“We want everyone across this country to be able to support those products, buy from those persons so that you indirectly or directly will contribute to them being independent”, Dr. Persaud remarked.   

In attendance was the Minister within the Ministry of Housing Susan Rodrigues, Chinese Ambassador to Guyana Guo Haiyan, Chairman of Region Six David Armogan, and other representatives.

The sod turning on Thursday. (left to right) Coordinator of Council of People living with Disabilities, Ganesh Singh, Human Services and Social Security Minister Dr Vindyah Persaud, First Lady Arya Ali (third from left), Minister within the Ministry of Housing Susan Rodrigues, Chinese Ambassador Guo Haiyan and Regional Chairman for Region Six, David Armogan

This comes on the heels of the PPP/C Government delivering a menu of measures to assist persons living in Guyana with disabilities ranging from a $25,000 cash grant to assist with training, equipment, hearing aid and other medical supplies, and entrepreneurial development.

The Government has recently given house lots to 60 persons who are differently abled after they waited for more than five years for allocation. With over 30,000 persons living with a disability in Guyana, Government hopes to uplift the community to empower them to strive and live more comfortable and progressive lives.

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