Mon | Oct 26, 2020

Disaster survival guide in Braille launched

Published:Saturday | October 17, 2020 | 12:07 AMChristopher Serju/Senior Gleaner Writer

A survival guide produced in Braille for persons who are blind or living with vision impairment was unveiled at a handover ceremony recently as part of an effort to ensure that they are not left behind when disaster strikes.

The ceremony at the Salvation Army School for the Blind and Visually Impaired marks the beginning of nationwide distribution of the booklet, When Disaster Strikes Be Ready – A Survival Guide for Persons with Disabilities, through the Salvation Army, Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities, Combined Disabilities Association, Jamaica Society for the Blind, and Jamaica Library Service.

The booklet provides a comprehensive guide on disaster management for persons with disabilities and explains how they should plan for each disaster and what they should do during and after a major disaster, executive director of the Combined Disabilities Association Gloria Goffe explained.

Vice-principal of the Salvation Army School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Sherine Gordon, said the school was “very excited” about the opportunities being presented and noted that this was the first such intervention for the school. “We will ensure that each student will not just have access to the booklets but will read and put into practice,” she promised.

PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS

Leonie Barnaby, Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP) national steering committee chair, described the project as bringing practical solutions while empowering people with critical information. “Another important aspect of this project is that it will ensure sustainability through the availability of material for children and inclusion in libraries,” she observed. Barnaby thanked the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) for supporting this community-based adaptation project and commended the Environmental Health Foundation for the concept and execution.

In welcoming the timely production of the booklet, Una May Gordon, principal director in the Climate Change Division of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, said the Braille product provided more members of the disabled community with access to information on climate change.

“When the request came to me to support the production of the booklet, my office did not hesitate,” she said.

The production was funded by the AusAID through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-implemented GEF SGP under a US$94,350 project implemented by the Environmental Health Foundation. Through AusAID financing, UNDP/GEF SGP contributed US$47,000. Next on the agenda is the Braille conversion of a national document that highlights the alignment of the global Sustainable Development Goals to Jamaica’s Vision 2030 goals, GEF SGP national coordinator in Jamaica Hyacinth Douglas disclosed.

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com