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Posted: Monday 5 December, 2022 at 9:49 AM

Perception for differently-able must change

By: Staff Reporter,

    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - AS St. Kitts and Nevis joined the rest of the world on  December 3 to recognize International Day of People with Disability, United Nations Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean,  Didier Trebucq believes that people’s thinking must change for inclusion.


    In his address to recognize the day, Trebucq explained that the  inclusion of persons with disabilities is a priority for the United Nations, and it goes beyond what is currently being provided by the communities and governments. Rather, the perception people has for those who are in the differently-able communities must change.


    “Ensuring participation and visibility of persons with disabilities in all aspects of life enriches our families, our communities, and our organizations, it brings us closer to the aspirations of a fairer society and to a more complete understanding of humanity in all its complexity,” added Trebucq.


    While acknowledging there is a growing demand for “new uses of technologies, a different approach to urban planning and architecture, diverse working and living arrangements for social protection that can benefit persons with disabilities. There is also ample need and interest in looking more closely at how schools, hospitals, or public institutions are set up or function”. 


    The latter was highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic where many persons in the differently-abled community were impacted, especially school children. 


    Former Education Minister Jonel Powell did acknowledge at the start of the pandemic that it was a challenge at the time because the infrastructure was not in place.


    “One of the most transformative solutions for inclusion and accessibility does not require a particular technology, design or policy in place. It requires a change in our perceptions and attitudes towards persons with disabilities. Genuine innovation requires that all of us become agents of change.  It is a transformation of our understanding of human diversity and of the wide range of capacities and abilities that all persons bring to society. It is an evolution towards a human -rights approach to the perspective of disabilities,” said Trebucq.


    The year’s theme is “Transformative Solutions and the Role of Innovation for an Accessible World” as it plays a crucial role in helping to overcome physical and social barriers. 


    That prompted the Resident Coordinator to call for “Sign language, braille signs, ramps, accessible messages in social media are just a few of the essential accommodations needed to ensure that persons of all ages living with disabilities feel included and are easily able to access information, services, and facilities.” 




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