The National Council for Persons with Disabilities marked International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPwD) (Tuesday, 3 December 2019) with a colourful ‘dress for a cause’ photo opportunity.
The annual United Nations (UN) observance aims to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities and celebrate their achievements and contributions.
This year’s event brought together civil servants, staff and residents of Sunrise Adult Training Centre, staff and students from the Lighthouse School, as well as representatives from private sector agencies: Cayman Theraplay, KidsAbility and Aspire Therapeutic Services.
They were joined by Deputy Governor, Hon. Franz Manderson; Ministry of Community Affairs Chief Officer Teresa Echenique and the Chairperson of the Council of Older Persons Lucille Seymour.
The theme of this year’s IDPwD was ‘Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda.’
According to the UN, 2019’s theme focused on empowering persons with disabilities for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development as called for in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Agenda pledges to ‘leave no one behind’ and recognises disability as a cross-cutting issue, to be considered in the implementation of its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
As Head of the Civil Service, Mr. Manderson was encouraged by the number of his staff who took part in the observance.
“I want to thank all civil servants involved with people with disabilities. They are doing an amazing job. Within the civil service we employ a number of staff who have disabilities, and I think we can all agree that we can do more to ensure that people with disabilities can lead productive lives within our community,” he said.
The Director of the Sunrise Adult Training Centre, and member of the National Council for Persons with Disabilities, Kimberly Voaden also attended.
Speaking about the significance of IDPwD, she said: “This is a wonderful day to celebrate and educate the general public about the fact that people with disabilities and all abilities are important participants in the national conversation for accessibility, inclusivity and participation in our future.”
“The theme this year has so much to do with leadership and the importance of the idea of nothing for us without us. When making policy, when trying to move accessibility issues forward, the most important people to include in the conversation are people with special needs themselves and their families,” Mrs. Voaden concluded.
She also noted that Government was working to advance Ministries’ action plans arising from its National Disabilities Policy.