Dis­as­ter sur­vival guide in Braille launched

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION - Christo­pher Serju/ Se­nior Gleaner Writer christo­pher.serju@glean­erjm.com

‘We will en­sure that each stu­dent will not just have ac­cess to the book­lets but will read and put into prac­tice.’

A SUR­VIVAL guide pro­duced in Braille for per­sons who are blind or liv­ing with vi­sion im­pair­ment was un­veiled at a han­dover cer­e­mony re­cently as part of an ef­fort to en­sure that they are not left be­hind when dis­as­ter strikes.

The cer­e­mony at the Salvation Army School for the Blind and Vis­ually Im­paired marks the be­gin­ning of na­tion­wide dis­tri­bu­tion of the book­let, When Dis­as­ter Strikes Be Ready – A

Sur­vival Guide for Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties, through the Salvation Army, Ja­maica Coun­cil for Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties, Com­bined Dis­abil­i­ties As­so­ci­a­tion, Ja­maica So­ci­ety for the Blind, and Ja­maica Li­brary Ser­vice.

The book­let pro­vides a com­pre­hen­sive guide on dis­as­ter man­age­ment for per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties and ex­plains how they should plan for each dis­as­ter and what they should do dur­ing and af­ter a ma­jor dis­as­ter, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of the Com­bined Dis­abil­i­ties As­so­ci­a­tion Glo­ria Goffe ex­plained.

Vice-prin­ci­pal of the Salvation Army School for the Blind and Vis­ually Im­paired, Sher­ine Gor­don, said the school was “very ex­cited” about the op­por­tu­ni­ties be­ing pre­sented and noted that this was the first such in­ter­ven­tion for the school. “We will en­sure that each stu­dent will not just have ac­cess to the book­lets but will read and put into prac­tice,” she promised.

PRAC­TI­CAL SO­LU­TIONS

Leonie Barn­aby, Global En­vi­ron­ment Fa­cil­ity Small Grants Pro­gramme (GEF SGP) na­tional steer­ing com­mit­tee chair, de­scribed the project as bring­ing prac­ti­cal so­lu­tions while em­pow­er­ing peo­ple with crit­i­cal in­for­ma­tion. “An­other im­por­tant as­pect of this project is that it will en­sure sus­tain­abil­ity through the avail­abil­ity of ma­te­rial for chil­dren and in­clu­sion in li­braries,” she ob­served. Barn­aby thanked the Aus­tralian Agency for In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment (AusAID) for sup­port­ing this com­mu­ni­ty­based adap­ta­tion project and com­mended the En­vi­ron­men­tal Health Foun­da­tion for the con­cept and ex­e­cu­tion.

In wel­com­ing the timely pro­duc­tion of the book­let, Una May Gor­don, prin­ci­pal direc­tor in the Cli­mate Change Divi­sion of the Min­istry of Eco­nomic Growth and Job Cre­ation, said the Braille prod­uct pro­vided more mem­bers of the dis­abled com­mu­nity with ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion on cli­mate change.

“When the re­quest came to me to sup­port the pro­duc­tion of the book­let, my of­fice did not he­si­tate,” she said.

The pro­duc­tion was funded by the AusAID through the United Na­tions De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme (UNDP)-im­ple­mented GEF SGP un­der a US$94,350 project im­ple­mented by the En­vi­ron­men­tal Health Foun­da­tion. Through AusAID fi­nanc­ing, UNDP/GEF SGP con­trib­uted US$47,000. Next on the agenda is the Braille con­ver­sion of a na­tional doc­u­ment that high­lights the align­ment of the global Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals to Ja­maica’s Vi­sion 2030 goals, GEF SGP na­tional co­or­di­na­tor in Ja­maica Hy­acinth Dou­glas dis­closed.

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