As we all commence recognition of the month of the Disabled 2021, we at the Barbados Council for the Disabled (BCD) are eager to highlight the continued importance for equality and inclusion into everyday society for Barbadians living with disabilities.
In 2020, our Month of the Disabled (MOD) activities were abruptly terminated as Covid 19 consumed our every waking moment. As MOD 2021 commences, the threat of infection is even higher and our opportunities to meet, to work side by side appear to be as far from us as ever.
The BCD, its affiliates and partners continues to recognize that difficult and seemingly insurmountable as the obstacles may be, the Month Of The Disabled offers us a unique opportunity to bring back to the fore the opportunities
which have come to us trough the devastation which the pandemic has created.
The activities which have been selected to mark this year’s observances all focus on bringing the national theme to reality. Focusing on the future we want to see means that we must draft and execute plans to highlight the Barbados we all need to see!
The COVID-19 virus is unfortunately not going anywhere. We therefore must embrace the changes forced upon us and turn them to our advantage.
Being forced to work from home means that persons with disabilities can be included in the labour force on a larger scale as new opportunities for remote work become available.
Moving to the online classroom means that providing the correct support mechanisms more of your children and students with disabilities can be included in mainstream education.
Online shopping affords greater independence for persons with disabilities from at home to purchase the goods and services they choose.
Limitations on large groups means that more persons with disabilities can attend and participate in a wider cadre of activities than before.
There are of course barriers to the realization of these that must be addressed.
Better access to digital banking. Greater emphasis on inclusion of PWDs from the inception of programmes rather than to be simply tack on at the end.
Sensitivity training for persons who will interact with the public creating a more welcoming and empathetic community.
We at the Barbados Council for the Disabled pledge our ongoing vigilance on these and all other actions to ensure that the community of persons living with disabilities are meaningfully included. We cannot do this alone, we call on
Government, private sector, and the community of persons with disabilities to work with us to bring about the change we all want. We will then have a more inclusive and resilient Barbados!
Kerryann Ifill SCM
Barbados Council for the Disabled