Dec 03, 2020 News
…As Int’l Day of Persons with Disabilities is observed
All are at risk for COVID-19 and this has become abundantly clear to those within the blind society. Ganesh Singh, the Programme and Communications Officer of the Guyana Council of Organizations for Persons with Disabilities (GCOPD), has taken note of this state of affairs.
Singh in a statement said, “the consequent lockdown has brought greater focus on the challenges of this community.”
As GCOPD joins the United Nations (UN), members of the international and regional disability community and Guyanese living with disabilities to observe International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) today, Singh has brought sharply into the spotlight the challenges faced by Persons With Disabilities (PWDs).
IDPD is observed on December 3 and this year it embraces the theme: “Building back better, towards a disability inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 world.” The annual observance of IDPD was proclaimed in 1992 by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. It aims to promote the rights and well-being of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) and to increase awareness of their situation in every aspect of political, social, economic, and cultural life.
With this in mind, Singh said, “As we observe IDPD 2020, there is a need more than ever to promote an understanding of the plethora of issues plaguing the lives of PWDs in Guyana. These issues have long affected the independence and productivity of this marginalized group.”
Even though he acknowledged that the entire world has suffered as a result of COVID-19, Singh revealed that due to the social location of PWDs, their difficulties were further exacerbated by the pandemic. This community of vulnerable people, he added, has always been forced to live on the fringes of society, resulting from the stigma, discrimination, and social barriers they have to face on a daily basis.
“As we rebuild the Guyanese economy post COVID-19, we call on the government and other stakeholders to ensure that PWDs are considered and included in all rebuilding and development plans and the contents of the Guyana PWD Act 2010 are implemented in a timely manner,” said Singh.
As he commended initiatives taken thus far by government to promote and fulfil the rights of PWDs, Singh, on behalf of GCOPD, outlined some measures that, once implemented, can help to improve the lives of PWDs.
GCOPD, according to Singh, calls on the nation’s policy makers to develop a programme for the allocation of a monthly “Disability Grant” to qualified PWDs, as a living allowance. This grant should be administered separately from the “Public Assistance” Grant; ensure that qualified and skilled PWDs be allocated a small percentage of all public sector jobs; ensure that all public schools are accessible and are governed by a relevant Special Education Needs policy that promotes the integration and full participation of children with disabilities, ensuring they acquire a meaningful education; allocate more resources to the SEN with emphasis on the use of technology in the classroom and teacher training; ensure that all public buildings are accessible to PWDs, in compliance with the Guyana PWD Act 2010 and ensure that PWDs have a voice in the expenditure of the revenues from the oil and gas sector.
The GCOPD is the umbrella body that represents the majority of Disabled People Organizations (DPOs) from across Guyana, working in the areas of advocacy and capacity building. The DPOs represents all types of disabilities. For further information, persons can email Singh using [email protected] or call him on (592) 652-8975.
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