14 persons with disabilities complete ICT training

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Human Services Minister Dr. Vindhya Persaud and the ministry's Permanent Secretary Shannielle Hoosein-Outar (fifth and sixth from left) with participants of the recently concluded training for PWDs

Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr. Vindhya Persaud this week distributed assistive aids, tablets, and wheelchairs to the first batch of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) who completed a specialised Information Communications Technology (ICT) training recently.

The distribution that took place was to assist them in continuing their studies and practice at home. Upon completion of the course, through Nations University, they were encouraged to continue making an effort to educate themselves.

Hazel Sears, one of the beneficiaries of the training, especially enjoyed learning how to type and is looking forward to more training opportunities because she said there is still a lot left for her to learn about software and programmes that are specific to PWDs.

One of the visually impaired participants, Colin Caesar, stated that this was a life-changing experience that opens up the world of further studies and work to him.

It was the first time that Omar Ramjit, another participant, used a computer and he said he thoroughly enjoyed doing so. He, like many other trainees, also benefitted from guidance on how to use the JAWS software. 

JAWS is a computer screen reader program that allows blind and visually impaired users to read the screen, such as through a text-to-speech output.

In offering congratulatory remarks to the participants, Minister Persaud noted that the Ministry is offering varied free courses to persons living with disabilities which are expected to benefit over 600 PWDs. 

“I know it wasn’t an easy one for you and required tremendous sacrifice and I hope that with the training you can go on to do so much more for yourselves,” she told them.

Commenting on the practicality of the training, Dr. Persaud continued: “ICT is so widely used now in the world, especially under the COVID-19 pandemic situation but it’s not only about the training; this can go toward making you independent. Our intention is to help you to start your own businesses and to help you in as many ways as we can in the New Year.”

.Early in 2022, Minister Persaud plans to engage PWDs to bring them up-to-date on all of the initiatives and programmes that the Ministry has planned for the future. A major one is the operationalizing of the centre that is being built in the Mahaica Hospital compound.

At this facility, the Ministry will continue to offer technical and vocational skills and PWDs will have somewhere to host their events. “You can now have a place and a space to call your own,” Dr. Persaud said.

The Ministry is also working on collaborations with the Small Business Bureau (SBB) to have that this facility available to PWDs so that they can benefit from funds to start their own businesses.

Acting Technical Officer of the Difficult Circumstances Unit, Satesh Rajpat offered that the Ministry has been training persons with disabilities in various areas, the predominant one being ICT. 

The training encouraged PWDs to continue to educate themselves despite the current challenges, Rajpat noted.

According to him, 14 PWDs were able to complete the first set of training and other classes will start soon in guidance and counselling, sewing, mobility, and a host of other skills areas. 

The classes are small in size to offer personalized support.

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