Alessandro Boyd, Gleaner Writer
The Digicel Foundation is continuing its mission to raise awareness around the special needs community in Jamaica with its latest initiative, the 'Digicel Foundation 5K Night Run/Walk in Aid of Special Needs'.
Under the theme 'Take Back The Night', the Digicel Foundation's run/walk is being branded Jamaica's first-ever initiative of its kind to be staged at night.
"With 'Take Back The Night', we will seek to raise awareness and support of special needs and to alter perceptions about hosting events at night in downtown Kingston," executive director of Digicel Foundation, Samantha Chantrelle, told The Gleaner yesterday during the launch of the run/walk at the company's new downtown Kingston headquarters.
"Similarly, we want to redefine perceptions of persons living with special needs in Jamaica."
The School for Therapy, Education and Parenting of Children with Multiple Disabilities (STEP) Centre, Jamaica Society for the Blind and the Jamaica Association for the Deaf are among the several institutions that will benefit from the initiative.
"The special needs community is not embraced, that's the truth. I think we have been neglecting it for so long and some people are even asking us how do you even survive. It's really through determination because if you go around to each institution, you will find out that they are doing a lot on their own and they really survive despite the odds," Peta-Rose Hall, chairperson of the STEP Centre, said as she lauded Digicel for its continuous contribution.
"To have Digicel, a corporate giant, embrace the special needs community is huge. I can't begin to emphasise how huge that is and what it means to us," Hall added.
The Gleaner Company Limited has also thrown its full support behind the initiative as it is the platinum sponsor for the run/walk.
The race will take place on Saturday, October 20, starting from the Digicel headquarters.