Gov’t block making initiative extended to persons living with disabilities

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Persons living with disabilities in Guyana are now able to benefit from the government’s Community-based Employment Stimulation Project (CESP) which is being executed by the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA).

Some 35 people living with disabilities are expected to be employed with the project which was launched on Wednesday at the Guyana Society for the Blind in Georgetown.

These persons will be engaged in concrete block making to supply the local construction sector. The CH&PA is also collaborating with the Guyana National Bureau of Standard (GNBS) to ensure quality products that meet the national standards.

Once these demands are met, the concrete blocks will then be supplied for the 900 houses soon to be constructed at Little and Great Diamond on the East Bank of Demerara.

The CESP initiative will also assist the current demand for housing and the government in the construction of thousands of houses over the next five years while simultaneously addressing the issue of unemployment in Guyana.

Persons living with disabilities who will benefit from the CESP initiative (Photo: DPI/September 22, 2021)

Additionally, GNBS will provide training and certification to persons involved in the project while CH&PA will supply tools, sand and cement for the blocks.

“Where concrete houses are to be constructed it is the intention of the CH&PA to purchase concrete blocks from communities participating in the CESP,” CH&PA’s Chief Executive Officer Sherwyn Greaves said.

Additionally, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Oneidge Walrond said the government aims to provide employment for small and micro business owners so that they can strive. She urged these business owners to produce quality products to curb the challenges in the construction sector as it relates to substandard products.

“Quality and consistency of any products are extremely important, it is well known that many block maker sacrifices the quality of the blocks whether in a rush to meet market demand or alternatively in pursuit of lower cost and higher profit,” Walrond explained.

Meanwhile, a wheelchair accessible shed donated by CH&PA to the Guyana Council of Organisation for Persons will Disabilities (GCOPD) was also commissioned on Wednesday. Minister of Housing and Water Collin Croal revealed that the shed will be used to make and store the blocks at a cost of $900,000. Croal said the demand in the construction sector has resulted in a demand for concrete blocks and as such the CESP initiative was formed.

Second from left: Minister of Housing and Water Collin Croal, Ganesh Singh, Minister Susan Rodrigues, Minister Oneidge Walrond and CEO of CH&PA, Sherwyn Greaves at the commissioning of the shed at the Guyana Council for the Blind (Photo: DPI/September 22, 2021)

“Similar projects will be rolled out in the various regions for which we have similar housing programmes and so initiatives such as these will continue,” Croal stated.

The block making project was extended to persons living with disabilities following meetings last year. During those meeting with Programme Coordinator of GCOPD, Ganesh Singh the difficulties faced by this group was also highlighted when applying for house and land.

One of the beneficiaries of the CESP initiative is 25-year-old Musa Haynes. Haynes was never employed and has been visually impaired since he was a child.

“I feel pretty good, I think it is a good initiative by the government…it will provide me with an opportunity to earn for myself,” Haynes said.

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