Mon | Sep 24, 2018

Early Stimulation Programme for disabled children in Portland

Published:Saturday | October 4, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Chairman of the Portland Parish Council Benny White; member of parliament for West Portland, Daryl Vaz; chief executive officer, Digicel Foundation, Samantha Chantrelle; director, Early Stimulation Programme at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Antonica Gunter-Gayle; and Minister of Labour and Social Security Derrick Kellier participate in a ground-breaking ceremony in Portland on Wednesday.-PHOTO BY GARETH DAVIS

Gareth Davis, Gleaner Writer

ORANGE BAY, Portland:CHILDREN WITH varying disabilities in Portland will benefit from the construction of a new facility for the Early Stimulation Programme (ESP) intervention centre, through a joint partnership with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS) and Digicel Foundation.

The ground-breaking ceremony for the $30-million project took place on Wednesday in Orange Bay, under the watchful eyes of Labour and Social Security Minister Derrick Kellier, Member of Parliament for West Portland Daryl Vaz, along with chief executive officer of Digicel Foundation, Samantha Chantrelle.

"The ESP caters to the developmental needs of children with disabilities from birth to six years. Protecting, uplifting, and empowering the vulnerable in the society is a crucial responsibility of the MLSS. It is a duty that we take seriously, especially for persons living with disabilities. I am pleased that Digicel Jamaica, through the Digicel Foundation, is rallying to the cause of persons with disabilities. It is important that we look out for the frail and powerless in the society," said Kellier.

invaluable contribution

The ESP has been catering to the needs of young, disabled children and their families for more than 30 years. Since its inception 39 years ago, the programme has reportedly benefited approximately 20,000 children with varying disabilities across the island.

Vaz spoke highly of what he termed as "the invaluable contribution to the Jamaican society, especially to children and the most vulnerable, by Digicel Foundation".

"Digicel Foundation continues to touch the lives of ordinary Jamaicans. I am happy to be a part of this historic groundbreaking, and I know that the students, who are oftentimes shunned by others including adults, will have a healthy state-of-the-art facility and a friendly environment, where they will be treated with kindness and love by teachers, who have a passion for dealing with such situations."

Construction is scheduled to begin this month end.