Disabled Persons Network gets sewing machines from US embassy
The Disabled Persons Network (DPN) of Region Five was given a boost for its bed sheet production project when it received three sewing machines from the United States embassy on Wednesday.
Ambassador to Guyana, D. Brent Hardt made the presentation of the machines to president of the DPN, Mark Archibald and said it was the start of bigger donations.
He also handed over three braille books “to support reading and writing for the members who are visually impaired.”
The bed sheet production project was launched in June this year with the DPN sewing various sizes of bed sheet sets in an effort to be self-reliant. The objectives are also to generate funds, develop skills and provide employment.
The target markets include the Ministry of Health, regional hospitals, hospitality businesses and the local community.
At a simple ceremony held at the DPN’s centre at Seafield, West Coast Berbice, Hardt said he was happy to support the project because “in doing so, we are supporting a remarkable civil society organization that is fighting for the rights of a critical group of often underserved citizens.”
According to the ambassador, the project also promotes disability rights and entrepreneurship and economic prosperity through the creation of small business enterprises.
He told the members too that “the United States government shares your belief in the importance of promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities…”
He noted that “disability rights are basic human rights, not special rights. Persons with disabilities have the same rights as all other people to non-discrimination, access, equality of opportunity, inclusion, and full participation in society…”
Hardt also said that as part of its foreign policy, the US works throughout the world to remove barriers and create a world in which disabled people enjoy dignity and full inclusion.
He said too that discrimination against people with disabilities is not simply unfair; it hinders economic development, restricts democracy and erodes the sense of justice at the root of a society.
Archibald thanked the ambassador for the gesture and said he wants to partner with the embassy and looks forward for further support.
In giving a background to the DPN, he said it started out with four members occupying a small building and that figure has since grown to over 50 members.
He mentioned too that after the small building outgrew its capacity they approached the Office of the President and funding was provided to expand it.
Former President, Bharrat Jagdeo also agreed to provide funding to offset weekly transportation expenses for members to attend skills training sessions.
Archibald said they are on the verge of setting up a Special Needs School on a plot of land available next to the centre. He noted that lots of children with disabilities “are left behind.”
Also addressing the gathering were regional chairman, Bindrabhan Bisnauth and chairman of the National Community-Based Rehabi-litation Programme, Gregory Glasgow.
Bisnauth said the region would ensure that disabled persons are treated with the respect they deserve and that the region has made provisions in next year’s budget to assist the DPN.