The sod was officially turned Thursday for the construction of a state-of-the-art Business Centre for Persons with Disabilities.
The ceremony for the construction of the facility, a project conceptualised by First Lady Arya Ali, was held at the proposed site in Palmyra, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne).
Mrs. Ali used the occasion to reiterate the necessity of the facility and the accompanying investment.
“This is an investment we must make. While education remains one of the fundamental pillars of empowerment, so too is economic opportunity,” she said.
The First Lady was accompanied by Minister of Human Services and Social Security Dr. Vindhya Persaud, Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water Susan Rodrigues, Chinese Ambassador to Guyana Guo Haiyan, Coordinator for the Council of Organisations for Persons with Disabilities (GCOPD) Ganesh Singh along with other regional officials.
It is expected that similar facilities will be constructed in other administrative regions across Guyana.
“Today, we are here to demonstrate our commitment to that cause by making this investment in the lives of people who have historically been excluded from many aspects of society,” Mrs. Ali explained.
Through a recently-held fundraiser, she was able to raise just over $13 million to commence the establishment of a business centre for Persons with Disabilities (PWD).
In 2020, when Mrs. Ali assumed office, she prioritized PWD through her ‘InclusAbility’ initiative to support their economic and social empowerment and better integrate them into society.
The business centre is the brainchild of Mrs Ali who believes that these individuals must be provided with the resources, opportunities, knowledge and skill needed to increase their capacity to determine their own future and fully participate in community life.
The government has committed to constructing the facility while the Office of the First Lady will be responsible for furnishing the centre, providing start-up capital and implementing the programme. The centre will support entrepreneurs and creative from other regions.
It will comprise: five work stations that will allow persons to manufacture products ranging from crafts to snacks; a retail space for those products to be sold; a boardroom for meetings and training; a therapy room; a cafeteria; and washrooms.
Construction of the facility is expected to commence soon.