Increased intervention from government is necessary to ensure independent living for those with disabilities.
This was the message from the Guyana Council of Organisations for Persons with Disabilities in a press release to mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities yesterday.
The day was observed under the theme ‘Break barriers, open doors: for an inclusive society for all.’
The council says it is working to break all barriers against persons with disabilities by focusing on promoting accessibility. However, it noted that “The Government needs to institutionalise its support of self-employment for persons with disabilities.” According to the council, self-employment holds the promise of financial equity, contains unique opportunities under the Persons with Disabilities Act 2010, and presents options for personalised accommodations not easily found in wage employment. The Act provides for “…certain rights to persons with disabilities; the promotion and protection and full and equal enjoyment of the rights; to facilitate the enforcement of the rights; to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability and to provide for the welfare and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities.” During 2013, several workshops and training programmes were held to empower persons with disabilities. However, they still encounter challenges accessing health, education, employment, transportation and information services. These include inadequate policies, lack of accessibility, inadequate information and communication and lack of participation in decision-making which directly impact their lives. The group noted that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognises that the existence of barriers constitutes a central component of disability. Under the Convention, disability is an evolving concept that “results from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.”