Yesterday (Thursday, 3 December 2020) was International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPWD) and the Sunrise Adult Training Centre (SRC) for persons with disabilities started off the morning with a very special visit to Government Administration Building.
Staff and students bused into George Town for a very special photo-opp on the front steps with Deputy Governor Franz Manderson and civil servants to mark the international observance.
Then in the afternoon, members of service club Rotaract Blue made their annual visit to the Sunrise facility in West Bay to help the clients decorate the Christmas tree and do arts and crafts.
In a particularly meaningful moment for the Centre and for Rotaract members, Audrey Hill, mother of the late Rotaract Blue past president Renee Dixon, presented SRC with a cheque for $2200, that was raised during Renee’s presidency.
Noting that this year’s IDPWD theme is ‘Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID
-19 World’, SRC Director Kimberly Voaden thanked Rotaract Blue for their generous donation of funds and personal time, which she said helped to foster programme development, inclusive friendships, and increased awareness of the talents and abilities of adults with special needs.
“We now have unique opportunities to evaluate and improve the inclusion of persons with disabilities in society, both globally and here in Cayman, as a result of the COVID
-19 pandemic. As we return to “normal” life, we must keep the good changes we have made, and re-double our efforts to ensure that everyone is fully included in this process”, Ms Voaden explains.
For example, she says, during the early stages of the pandemic, SRC and the National Council for Persons with Disabilities advocated for inclusion of a sign-language interpreter and closed captioning as part of official CIG press briefings. SRC, Aspire Therapeutic Ltd. and the National Council for PWDs also produced and shared easy-to-read materials on COVID
-19, quarantine/lockdown rules, health and safety tips, and more those having trouble accessing mainstream material.
“Yesterday was a celebration of all we have been through, as well as the promise of continued progress ahead. It also emphasised the importance of continuing to include clients and their families in all aspects of service improvement. As CIG works towards becoming a World Class Civil Service, we must listen to and include persons with disabilities, at all levels of our efforts to “make the lives of those we serve better.”
Visiting SRC at the same time as Rotaract Blue, was Acting Deputy Chief Officer, Mark Ray. Mr Ray, who was making his first tour of the current facility and its grounds, encouraged staff to continue the good “heart work” for which the Sunrise Centre is known. He also reaffirmed the commitment of the Ministry of Education in moving forward with improvements to current programming as well as plans for a new, purpose-built facility.