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Training courses for persons with disabilities at Edna Manley

Published:Thursday | May 31, 2018 | 3:36 PMCarlene Davis/Gleaner Writer
From second left: Caroline Patterson, beauty services instructor; Zavia Mayne, minister of state in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security; and Susan Hamilton, managing director, Abilities Foundation; observe as Abigail Rose (left), cosmetologist, polishes the nails of Aziza Anderson-Brown during the Abilities Foundation’s Open Day, which was held at its offices in Constant Spring, St Andrew, on Thursday.
Members of the Abilities Foundation perform a dance during the launch of open day at its Constant Spring Office in St Andrew on Thursday.

Plans are under way to develop and implement training courses in the creative arts at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in St Andrew for persons with disabilities.

Zavia Mayne, state minister in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, made the announcement on Thursday while speaking at the Abilities Foundation's open day and official launch of Abilities Day in Kingston. Mayne indicated that the programme would kick off at the start of the next school year.

"I have here 2019-2020 academic year, but the principal has indicated that as early as this year, the programme will come on stream. We are looking forward to starting with three persons, but I know that three will multiply into greater numbers very shortly," said Mayne.


The focus of this year's Abilities Day was on the talents of the trainees in the creative arts and the thrust for them to be included in the creative Jamaican landscape.

"Our attention can now be turned on empowering persons with disabilities to harness their creative capabilities as an avenue for income generation and achieving sustainable livelihoods," said Mayne.

Principal of the Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts Nicholeen DeGrasse-Johnson said that the arts were about inclusion and that the partnership was timely and necessary.

"Currently, we don't have the facilities, we don't have the infrastructure, we don't even have the instructors who we may deem to be capable," said DeGrasse-Johnson. "But we are willing to open our doors for that partnership to learn how to be able to serve the community better," she added.

Mayne told the audience that his ministry would continue to promote the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities so that they could attain their full potential.

"We remain committed to serving all types of disabilities and increasing the employability of persons with disabilities.

"For this reason, through a number of training programmes, the foundation remains committed, and we will continue to employ and engage disabled persons as we move closer to helping them attain a life of fulfilment and happiness," said Mayne.