Persons with disabilities are dependable people – CMO

…as 11 graduate from training programme

Eleven persons with disabilities on Thursday graduated from a technical and vocational programme offered by the Open Doors Centre, which is organised to prepare individuals for the world of work.
Held at the Herdmanston Lodge, the graduates received their credentials and were charged by Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Shamdeo Persaud to utilise their skills by seeking employment. He stated that the concept behind this initiative was to promote inclusivity among everyone, regardless of their situation.
“No one should be left behind, regardless of what your condition is. Whether it is that you wear spectacles or whether you have something a little bit more challenging, that you’re all included in what we do as a society. You’re all included in social life…cultural activities…religious beliefs and your faith but also that you are gainfully employed,” he said to the graduates.
He explained that the Public Health Ministry will seek to find jobs for some of the persons who would have recently graduated.
“Wherever we can, we will try to find secure jobs for you. In several of our departments, we have a couple of graduates from this programme who come back to help us…Persons with disabilities are dependable people. They are there on time, they give more than their best most of the time.”
Meanwhile, Manager of the Centre, Arthur Lewis related that the organisation was established since 2001 and programmes were offered through financing from the European Union (EU). At that time, such services were lacking for persons with disabilities, making them very essential.
“It was on the strength of a background that lacked any form of vocational training for persons with disabilities and the employment opportunities that started working with persons with disabilities in Guyana. The result was the Open Doors Centre. The aim of the project was to make available, opportunities for vocational, education and skills training,” Lewis stated.
According to him, extracurricular activities are also offered to the trainees, which demonstrates their potential in other areas. However, the main agenda is to create jobs for these persons.
“You could see that persons with disabilities do have potential and they can do things and go places and be recognised. Work attachment is one of the key components of the programme. It gives the trainee an opportunity to gain real job experience,” he said.
The Open Door Centre offers training to persons with disabilities of all ages. The programmes include information technology, home décor, carpentry and a recently introduced beauty care course and barbering. The Best Graduating Student was Althea Thomas, a 32-year-old wheelchair user.

Manager of the Centre (left) Arthur Lewis with Chief Medical Officer, Dr Shamdeo Persaud (centre) and the graduates