Greater Int’l financing needed to support disability-inclusive development – First Lady

First Lady Arya leading Guyana and her delegation during the 17th Session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

First Lady Arya Ali on Monday issued a call for greater financing to support disability-inclusive development in developing countries such as Guyana.
She made this plea during her address at the 17th Session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
“Developing countries with limited human and financial resources face major challenges in providing necessary support. Limited institutional, technological, and financial capacities remain barriers in small economies with competing demands,” she pointed out.
The Guyanese First Lady, however, made a heartfelt plea to the international community. “Guyana calls for greater international financing for Disability-Inclusive Development in developing countries… By supporting these initiatives, the international community can help ensure that persons with disabilities worldwide live with dignity and respect, realising their full potential.”
She added that in a truly inclusive and sustainable world, persons with disabilities must be empowered to live a life with dignity and respect; a life where they can realise their potential,” she stated.

The Sitting of the 17th Session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

She painted a blunt picture of the current reality, noting that in many developing countries, the majority of working-age persons with disabilities are unemployed and many children with disabilities do not attend school.
According to Ali, the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has been pivotal in creating momentum for removing institutional and attitudinal barriers.
“Guided by the Convention, Guyana enacted disabilities legislation and adopted a multifaceted approach to ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy equal treatment, focusing on education and empowerment,” she underlined.
Ali detailed Guyana’s comprehensive approach to supporting persons with disabilities, which includes a life-course strategy.
“A register of persons with disabilities is informing government policies and guiding interventions,” she explained. This register ensures that government initiatives are accurately tailored to the needs of the disabled community.
All persons living with permanent disabilities in Guyana are eligible to receive monthly financial assistance throughout their lives. Additionally, assistive and mobility aids are provided free of cost, and there is a focus on providing specialised support for children through widespread teacher training.
In 2023, Guyana established the Mahaica Disability Complex, a training and empowerment center providing vital skills training. This initiative is complemented by business grants and interest-free loans, designed to foster economic independence for persons with disabilities.
As part of her commitment to the cause, the First Lady is spearheading an initiative to establish a Business Centre aimed at advancing financial independence and economic empowerment.
“This center will offer a range of products and services to Guyana’s growing consumer market,” Ali highlighted, emphasising the potential for economic contributions from persons with disabilities.
Recognising the power of technology to bridge gaps, Guyana is placing significant emphasis on enhancing digital connectivity and using technology to provide learning opportunities for persons with disabilities.
“In the digital age, where technology holds unprecedented power to bridge gaps and foster inclusion, enhancing digital connectivity is crucial,” Ali noted.
The delegation comprises Mr Ravin Singh, Director of Projects, Policy & Public Affairs, Office of the First Lady; Dr Ariane Mangar, Director of Disability and Rehabilitation Services, Ministry of Health; and Mr Ganesh Singh, Programme Manager, Guyana Council of Organisations for Persons with Disabilities.
Ambassador Trishala Persaud, Deputy Permanent Representative, Marissa Carmichael-Edwards, Minister Counsellor, Stephanie Savory, First Secretary and Abosede Hazlewood, Second Secretary comprise the team from Guyana’s Permanent Mission.
The Conference of States Parties has been held annually, since 2008, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, covering a range of themes and issues on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.