Sat | Dec 3, 2016

Talawah lends a hand to the disabled

Published:Friday | October 3, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Monica Simpson of Talawah Investments Limited takes a call in her St Andrew-based office. Brian McCalla/Freelance Photographer

TALAWAH INVESTMENTS Limited, St Andrew's private wholesale water-distribution centre, has already started accommodating the easy movement of disabled workers and customers with ramp access to its Ballater Avenue office.

The Disabilities Act, passed in Parliament in July, stipulates that premises and housing be retrofitted to provide easy access to disabled persons.

Managing director of the company, Richard Simpson, said independent mobility allows the disabled to feel a sense of independence.

"Persons who have mobility challenges can use a wheelchair to come into the building. They can enter the building from the front and they can exit the building through the rear, the entrance, and the exits are ramped," Simpson told The Gleaner.

The company also has a director who is wheelchair bound. Monica Simpson, Simpson's mother, gradually lost her ability to walk after she had an accident in a supermarket a decade ago. She is retired, but does not use it as an excuse to stay home. She still visits the office and executes her directorial duties with the same level of professionalism she displayed before her accident.

"I like my staff. I like my job. I'm motivated by seeing them and interacting with them," Monica explained.

Company's secretary

She served as the company's secretary for 42 years.

Monica said one of her dislikes about being disabled is the unwanted attention it attracts. "Jamaicans like to stare at you. They look me up and down. I've had my problem for little over 10 years, so I am accustomed to it, so I will just look at them and say hi," she shared.

But despite the accomplishments in infrastructure of his own business, Simpson outlined that in many other places, it is quite the contrast. "We still have challenges in a lot of public places that don't have facilities for persons in wheelchair," he lamented.