The Disabilities Act is a step toward creating opportunities for employment and education to better serve the needs of those living with disabilities. Originally passed in 2014, the Disabilities Act ushers in legislation to promote equal rights for disabled persons and prohibit discrimination against them. As an advocate for the special needs community in Jamaica, the Digicel Jamaica Foundation supports the Act and the impact it will have on improving the inclusion and upliftment of this community.
The Digicel Jamaica Foundation is one of the largest donors to the special needs community. Since its inception in 2004, the foundation has constructed 10 special needs centres, eight schools with the Ministry of Education and Youth’s (MOEY) Special Needs Unit, and over 40 ramps in traditional public schools to ensure more accessible education for those with physical disabilities. Additionally, the Digicel Group is a Valuable 500 member, which makes informed efforts to promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the workplace.
Charmaine Daniels, the foundation’s CEO, discussed the importance of the Act, “There are a lot of injustices which go unspoken of outside of the special needs community – schools which deny admission to students in wheelchairs on the basis that they don’t have ramps to the relevant buildings, employers who deny qualified, degree-holding persons interviews when they list that they have a disability and public transportation providers who charge higher fares to those with disabilities. This legislation will address those issues and give persons with Special Needs legal recourse when they identify an injustice,”
Daniels went on to speak about the foundation’s work stating, “As a company, we want to be on the forefront of inclusion, and that means continuing to evolve how we engage and interact with those persons with disabilities, especially in the workplace.”