Persons with Disabilities to be included in Govt’s block-making employment initiative

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As the Ministry of Housing and Water continues to explore routes for partnering with vulnerable groups, Minister within the Ministry Susan Rodrigues has announced the inclusion of the Guyana Council of Organisations for Persons with Disabilities (GCOPD), in the Community-based Employment Stimulation Project (CESP).

CESP is a block-making programme, recently launched by the Central Housing & Planning Authority (CH&PA), to foster economic opportunities among vulnerable groups.

Programme Coordinator of GCOPD, Mr. Ganesh Singh, and Chairman (ag), Mr. Cecil Morris, briefly met with Minister Rodrigues and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CH&PA, Mr. Sherwyn Greaves, on Monday to discuss the group’s involvement.

With the takeoff of the construction sector through the Ministry’s housing programmes, the Minister stated that there is an immediate need for 123,000 blocks by a number of contractors working with the Ministry. She said that the capabilities of persons living with disabilities are boundless and the spin-off benefits of housing, presents an opportunity for this to be showcased.

Mr. Singh indicated that GCOPD currently has two sub-agencies, which are prepared to capitalise on the opportunity: the Ruimveldt Parent Support Group and the Guyana Society for the Blind. Another group in Region Five has also been identified. He noted that block-making is nothing new to the agencies, which have participated in a number of block-making initiatives. “In both agencies, there are persons with disabilities, who are competent in partnering [with] such an initiative and this is a way of providing employment them,” Mr. Singh stated.

He also thanked Minister Rodrigues for holding fast to every commitment she has made to the group. Minister Rodrigues has been actively working with GCOPD for the allocation of land to persons living with disabilities. The Minister has also been working with the Director of Operations at CH&AP to revise the application form, which makes no provisions for differently–abled Guyanese. In the interim, the Minister facilitates the application process and interviews through her secretariat and partnership with GCOPD.

Most recently, GCOPD was also allotted a plot of land through the Minister’s intervention to aid in the development of a networking and training centre.

The project scope for CESP includes start-up support, market sourcing for blocks, project management and training where necessary. Already, CEO Greaves has committed to the provision of four sheds to assist the group. Site visits at the prospective block making facilities have also commenced to fast-track GCOPD’s involvement.