11 young people with disabilities equipped with new skills

Althea Thomas

Eleven young people with disabilities are now equipped with skills which will help them in landing a job and becoming their own entrepreneurs.

“Be proud of you are. Frame your certificates and put them on the wall so that persons will see that the skills you have learnt will contribute to the building of our country,” Chief Medical Officer, Dr Shamdeo Persuad told the individuals at their graduation ceremony yesterday.

They graduated from the 2018 class at the National Vocational Centre for persons with disabilities.

The CMO urged the graduates to seek out avenues where they could employ their newly found skills. “In terms of doing and using your skills the ministry of Public Health has been actively at the forefront in promoting employment for persons with disabilities. Wherever we can, we will try to secure jobs for you.”

The graduates were all young people living with disabilities, and during the training, they were equipped with technical and vocational skills to groom them for the world of work.

The Open-Door Centre facilitated the training programme catering for Information Technology and Home Décor.

Graduating as the 2018 Best Outstanding Student was Althea Thomas, who graduated at the top of her class in the Garment Making course. For the 32-year-old who uses a wheelchair, this was the first time she has ever graduated from an academic institution.

Thomas noted that she never had a “school” experience, and Open-Door Centre has given that to her.

At the age of four, young Althea damaged her spinal cord which she sustained from a fall.

Since then she has depended on her wheelchair to manoeuvre. “Being at Open Door Centre has done so much for me. I have been able to improve on my spelling and reading.” She also noted that other students and the teachers in her class made her journey extra special. Thomas aspires to open a salon with the skills she hopes to attain from a new course in hairstyling that she will be undertaking.

Her advice to those persons living with disabilities is to “not give up and don’t tell yourself you can’t do it, because when I went out there, I saw it was very easy, so just go and do it and always think positive.”

The Open-Door Centre continues to offer training to persons with disabilities regardless of age. Apart from Information Technology and Home Décor, the facility also offers other courses such as Carpentry where the trainees learn to build furniture for homes. This year, the centre has introduced a “Beauty Care” course. Male students will be sent to “Kevin’s Beauty world” for training to become professional barbers.

The centre is preparing to groom another batch of 40 persons living with disabilities for the world of work.

The Open-Door Centre was established under the purview of the Ministry of Public Health and offers rehabilitation services for persons with impairments and disabilities, aimed to ensure they achieve an optimum level of functioning physically, cognitively, socially and emotionally. This allows them to acquire a higher level of independence. [Extracted and Modified from the Department of Public Information]



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