The Belize Assembly for Persons with Diverse Abilities (BAPDA) commemorates Disability Awareness Week with the launch of their new National Disability ID cards. These cards are for people who have a physical or mental disability. They allow the public to identify who these people are and for them to render aid accordingly. According to Roxanne Marin, President of Bapda, it is easy to identify people with physical disabilities but not people with mental disabilities therefore this card will help with those situations.
Roxanne Marin, President, Belize Assembly for Persons with Diverse Abilities: “These ID cards we had a launch, a mini launch two and a half years ago and so we realized at that point that it was very important especially when it comes to our members that are autistic and it comes to police interaction, things like these are why it’s important for us to have these ID cards. In the initial steps we were just designing this ID card for us to be identified as members however since then persons have come to us about why it is important for us to have it when it comes to health services where we could take this into account, when it comes to grocery shopping. Unfortunately when it comes to certain criminal activities our persons are able to be assessed by police department when they are wearing their ID cards. It is estimated there are 15% persons with disabilities and being an undocumented person that would translate to about 70,000 Belizeans. We have so many different health organizations and we’re basically serving the same population so this is an opportunity for us to reach out to the different health organizations for you to come on board with us so that we can even know where our members are and to have them get their picture taken and have them join the registry for BAPDA. Presently before the ending of the year we’ll be doing the second printing of our ID cards and so this is an opportunity for them to reach out and let us know that they want to come and join us.”
Marin noted that there are over 500 registered disabled people around the country in BAPDA. Disability Awareness Week began yesterday, December 1 and will end on Friday with an awareness parade.