The annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilise support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities into every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.IDPD has been celebrated every year on December 3 since 1992, and the theme for the 2018 celebration is “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”.In observance of this day, the New Amsterdam Special Needs School (NASNS), on the afternoon of December 3, held an awareness walk through the streets of New Amsterdam, which was followed by a concert.NASNS Head Teacher Zoya Crandon told the Department of Public Information (DPI) that the road march and concert were two activities held every year by the school in observance of IDPD. Crandon said that this year the members of staffHead Teacher Zoya Crandondecided to “give back to the community”, which assisted the institution in a number of ways during the year.When asked how she felt about the success of the programme, the Head Teacher responded, “We started planning from last year. So, we feel really good because a lot of work was put into it.”Regional Education Officer of Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), Valika Mohabir-Jaikishun in her address, emphasised the need for inclusivity for persons living with disabilities. “We don’t want persons, because you have some form of disability to be left behind. We at the Ministry of Education want equality so that all our children can benefit … we want them to have an education because that is the key to success.”The walk, which commenced at Main and Vryheid Streets, New Amsterdam, saw participation from students and teachers of the NASNS, along with parents as well as officials of the Education Ministry. The participants later assembled at the New Amsterdam Town Hall for the concert and award ceremony which followed. Additionally, students, parents, and sponsors received awards in appreciation of their support throughout the year.This year, the local theme focused on empowering persons with disabilities for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development as part of the Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Agenda pledges to “leave no one behind”.According to the United Nations, “Persons with disabilities, as both beneficiaries and agents of change, can fast-track the process towards inclusive and sustainable development and promote resilient society for all, including in the context of disaster risk reduction and humanitarian action, and urban development. Governments, persons with disabilities and their representative organisations, academic institutions and the Private Sector need to work as a “team” to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”.
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