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Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities gets $1.5 million boost from USF

Published:Wednesday | May 13, 2020 | 11:26 AM
Zavia Mayne (right), State Minister in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, looks at a ICT equipment along with Kaydian Smith-Newton (left) Principal Director, Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr Gunjan Mansingh, Chairperson, Universal Service Fund (USF) and Daniel Dawes, (second right) USF Chief Executive Officer. The occasion was an official handing over from the USF to the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities at the council’s offices in Kingston on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 – Ian Allen photo

Judana Murphy, Gleaner Writer

Printers, laptops, projectors and monitors valued at $1.5 million were donated to the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) by the Universal Service Fund (USF) on Tuesday.

The handover is part of a $50 million grant earmarked by the USF in 2019 for the implementation of projects to benefit the special needs community.

Chairperson of the USF Board of Management, Dr Gunjan Mansingh, noted that the agency’s work is playing a role in realising Vision 2030.

“Persons with disabilities meet barriers of all types in their everyday lives and technology is a great enabler which can assist in lowering many of these barriers,” Mansingh said.

State minister in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security Zavia Mayne said the donation came at an opportune time as the ministry seeks to improve levels of communication and enhance the capacity of training and workshops.  

“It’s an indication of the commitment of the Universal Service Fund and the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology to ensure that the government fulfils its mandate to persons with disabilities, which is to promote and protect their rights so they can fulfil their social, economic and educational development,” Mayne explained.

He said a “robust” legislative framework, inclusive of codes of practice for health, education and employment, among other things, is currently being finalised for the special needs community.

JCPD Executive Director, Dr Christine Hendricks, was heartened by the donation which she said will enable the council to communicate effectively with persons with disabilities and the society at large.

“COVID has made it quite clear the importance of technology. We have quite a number of students in our special schools that are needing tablets and laptops now more than before,” she shared.

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