The Minister for Human Services and Social Security, Dr. Vindhya Persaud, met with disability rights activist Ganesh Singh on Friday to discuss key improvement plans the ministry is undertaking for the disabled community, particularly with regard to education.
In her Lamaha and East Street offices, Minister Persaud was also able to discuss security concerns from members of the Guyana Society for the Blind, particularly in relation to Singh’s robbery earlier this week.
The Department will consider what assistance it can provide with concerns about a safe venue. Singh, also program coordinator for the Guyana Council of Organizations for Persons with Disabilities (GCOPD), will play an important role in helping the ministry lead the way for new efforts for people with disabilities.
“It was a very, very productive meeting, and I was actually surprised by the Minister’s vision on disability. It’s clear and consistent with what we want. I am optimistic and very excited to be working with this ministry, “said Singh after the meeting, adding that Minister Persaud is very practical in the way things are done.
The Minister for Human Services, Dr. Vindhya Persaud, and Permanent Secretary, Shannielle Hoosein-Outar, meet with GCOPD program coordinator Ganesh Singh (Photo: May 14, 2021).
Singh was able to share his ideas on programs the ministry would like to introduce to youth, young adults and people in the disabled community who may not have had access to formal education.
While Blindness Awareness Month is being celebrated in May, the President of the Guyana Society for the Blind, Cecil Morris, said that mainly virtual activities are planned due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement, he drew attention to the issue of security for members of society, noting that in recent months a number of blind people have been robbed both on the premises and on their way into the premises.
“This security problem is an ongoing problem for which the authorities have not found a concrete solution. It is known that there are a lot of thieves in the area, ”he said.
Morris explained some of the other problems in society, saying for the past two years that even with limited rainfall, the building will flood. Also, the sewer system connected to the building is blocked and the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) field service agents cannot find the blockage or map for the area. As a result, there is a constant safeguarding of waste materials.
In addition, tramps and other citizens use the area, mainly the driveway to the site, as a landfill. Another problem is the lack of adequate funding to manage the organization and provide services to members.
The Guyana Society for the Blind is a national organization by and for the blind and is governed by a law of parliament. The organization has existed in its current location since 1953 and provides services to the blind community in various fields.
The GCOPD, on the other hand, is a collaborative forum that was founded in January 2008 and is made up of representatives from various organizations for people with disabilities. Its members meet regularly to support one another to build a stronger disability movement in Guyana. (Press release from the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security)