Jamaica News: Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, says disabled members of society can be agents of change.
In his address, read by Acting Senior Director of Community Services at HEART Trust/NTA, Ronique Rhoden, at the closing ceremony of the agency’s Empowerment Programme 2018/2019, in Falmouth, Trelawny, on December 14, Mr. Green said persons with disabilities can promote a society that is resilient for all; therefore, it is important that educational and training institutions, persons with disabilities and the organisations representing them, work together to effect change.
The State Minister also underscored his Ministry’s commitment to ensuring that persons with disabilities are empowered through skills training, so they can make a living.
“In addition to traditional vocational training, emphasis is being placed on helping disabled persons to harness their creative talents for income generation. The Ministry will continue to promote the rights and dignity of disabled persons, so that they can reach their full potential, and facilitate their social and emotional adjustment in the wider society,” Mr. Green said.
He pointed out that the Ministry is pleased with the Empowerment Programme, as it will “improve the personal, professional and social capacity of persons with disabilities, by guiding their progression into the workforce”.
“Experience has shown that when persons with disabilities are empowered adequately to participate and lead the process of development, their entire families, communities and even the larger society will benefit because their involvement creates opportunities for everyone with or without disability in any developmental effort,” Mr. Green said.
For her part, Ms. Rhoden congratulated the graduates of the programme. “This is a testament of your abilities and an indication that only great things lie ahead. The HEART Trust/NTA remains committed to assisting in the creation of a more inclusive environment for persons with disabilities,” she said.
“Through the Empowerment Programme, we aim to build the personal and professional capacity of our participants with disabilities to prepare them for the labour force. The programme is designed to highlight the abilities of participants by profiling their skills, developing their potential, supporting them with a job coach and providing them with work experience,” Ms. Rhoden added.
She informed that the programme has been expanded to all parishes to assist more members of the disabled community.
For her part, hearing-impaired participant, Janell Foster, said the programme has provided her with an opportunity of a lifetime.
“I am very grateful. The experience was fun, and very life-changing,” Ms. Foster said.
The Empowerment Programme, with a duration of seven months, was designed for disabled youth 17 to 34 years old. The programme began with a six-week camp that trained participants in areas such as character development, employability skills and wellness. They were also required to do six months of on-the-job training at various Trelawny-based businesses, with jobs that were determined by each individual’s skill set.
The closing ceremony, with the theme ‘Workplace inclusivity, engage, empower, employ’, saw the 17 participants in the programme being awarded with certificates.
Source: JIS News