A helping hand
One of the goals of the National Disabilities Unit (NDU) is to empower persons living with disabilities through their programmes and to provide other assistance whenever necessary for this community so that they can live active, productive lives and this Unit has stepped up to the plate and fulfilled its obligations in this regard.
This is according to the Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, Cynthia Forde, who said that since signing onto the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 11 years ago, Barbados has become even more conscious of catering to the needs of this particular group.
“Barbados, ever mindful of protecting the rights of persons with disabilities, became a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (PWD) on July 19th, 2007 and this Convention was subsequently ratified on February 27th 2013.
“The programmes, projects and services offered [at the NDU] are in alignment with the Unit’s objectives, which seek to empower persons with disabilities and provide assistance to other affiliated organizations. This is evident through the programmes formulated to mitigate the challenges confronting all persons with disabilities,” she continued.
The Mobilize, Embrace and Empower Programme (MEE Programme) is one initiative developed in this regard. Here, PWD are provided with assistance right in their own backyards.
“In 2014, the Mobilize, Embrace and Empower Programme (MEE Programme) was launched to coincide with the Month of the Disabled.
The NDU through this initiative seeks to embrace and empower persons living with disabilities within their respective communities through an annual Community Outreach Seminar,” she noted.
“Hence, I am pleased to report, that this year’s seminar, which was held under the theme, ‘Mobilize, Embrace, and Empower – It is all about MEE’ was a resounding success. This of course is based on the feedback received from some of the 90 participants who benefitted from that activity.”
Another initiative is the Accessibility programme, which among other things helps to provide easier access to persons with disabilities within their own properties.
“The Accessibility programme seeks to improve accessibility to the homes of persons with disabilities. This is facilitated to improve mobility and maintain independence through the construction of ramps and the widening of doorways. Assistive devices such as prostheses, wheelchairs, canes, crutches, raised toilet seats and grab bars [are also facilitated]. Shower chairs and shower extensions are all supplied by the Unit.”
At the time, Minister Forde was speaking at a church service at St. Barnabas Church to mark 21 years of existence of the NDU. (PJT)