Social Development commemorates World Down Syndrome Day!

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, March 23 – Port-of-Spain — The Minister of Social Development and Family Services, the Honorable Senator Donna Cox, pledged that the department will continue to provide the necessary support to all efforts to assist, empower and transform the lives of people with disabilities . The pledge was made as she addressed attendees at the Down Syndrome Family Network’s 10th Annual World Down Syndrome Conference at the Hyatt Regency on March 21.st. The theme of the event was “What does inclusion meanand also included presentations from Hon Ayana Webster Roy, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office (Gender Affairs); Dr Hon Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, Minister of Education and Ms Sharon C. Rowley, Barrister.

Minister Cox opened her remarks by commending the Down Syndrome Family Network for the commendable work it has done for the Down Syndrome community. According to Minister Cox, “The ministry seeks to provide the necessary support to the most vulnerable among us and, as such, continues to maintain partnerships with public and private entities, as well as with advocacy groups, such as the DSFN, where we can raise awareness and promote the interests of this community. One area where this has become necessary is continued collaboration with regional and international partners to address the issue of insufficient research and data on the disability sector in Trinidad and Tobago.

The Minister further said that emphasis has been placed on raising awareness and raising awareness as the ministry strives to fulfill the mandates of the UNCRPD and achieve the objectives of the National Policy Action Plan. on people with disabilities. She took the opportunity to highlight some of the Department’s upcoming and ongoing initiatives in support of people with

disabilities, which included awareness sessions on hearing loss to front-line staff, preparing an easy-to-read version of the National Disability Policy; and finally, revising the Disability Assistance Grant. Conference participants were also informed that in the near future, the Department of Social Development and Family Services will be holding capacity building workshops for NGOs that provide services to persons with disabilities. “This project aims to build the capacity of organizations that represent people with disabilities, which will help the respective NGOs to operate at an optimal level and, by extension, the disability community,” said Minister Cox.

The aim of the conference was to stimulate an international discourse on issues relating to inclusion and human rights. Under the theme #InclusionMeans, which the Department fully supports, demonstrates the need for full and effective participation and inclusion in society, as prioritized by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD ). The conversation focused on how society can foster an inclusive environment for people with Down syndrome and other disabilities, as advocates and experts shared their experiences and knowledge.

The Department of Social Development and Family Services remains committed to promoting the inclusion of the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities

Joel C. Hicks