Kingston, Jamaica, December 5, 2016 – The Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) is calling for a more barrier-free environment for persons with disabilities (PWDs).
Executive Director, JCPD, Christine Hendricks, told JIS News that while various entities have been making an effort to make their physical spaces more accessible to PWDs, more needs to be done to ensure that information is also accessible to that group.
“A barrier-free society is not just the physical environment. We also want the information and the communication from different companies to be barrier-free so PWDs can understand and communicate with service providers,” she said.
Mrs. Hendricks added that doing so will “benefit the entire society” as PWDs will be able to participate and contribute to the country.
She was speaking ahead of Disabilities Awareness Week, which will be observed from December 4 to December 9 under the theme ‘Inclusive Information Communication Technologies: The Way to the Future’.
The week will kick-start with a national church service on Sunday, December 4 at Grace Baptist Church, May Pen, Clarendon, at 9:00 a.m., while on Monday, December 5 there will be a public lecture hosted by the Centre for Disability Studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus.
“It will be guided by a selected panel of professionals within the disability sector and in the field of technology to look at the use of technology and how it can enhance the employment of PWDs,” informed the JCPD Head.
On Wednesday, December 7, the JCPD will partner with the Social Development Commission (SDC) to host a business and technology exposition at the St. Ann’s Bay Taxi Park in St. Ann.
The exposition will be used to launch the SDC’s Moving Outside Vulnerabilities for Economic Development (MOVE) Programme, which will focus on national economic growth and wealth creation through community business initiatives targeted at PWDs.
PWDs and other entrepreneurs will also have the opportunity to showcase their products and services at the exposition.
The Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology, HEART Trust/NTA, Jamaica Business Development Corporation and FLOW are among several partners for the event.
Throughout the week, various disability-sector partners will host other events across the island.
Mrs. Hendricks said the week, which is observed annually, is a time to “highlight the work and the worth of persons with disabilities and seek to push the inclusive agenda”.