This week is being observed as disability week under the theme “Transformation towards a sustainable and resilient society for all”. This morning there was a march from the Battlefield Park to the Memorial Park, where there was a rally to commemorate the occasion. Love News spoke with Erlette Thomas, Manager of the National Resource Center for Inclusive Education about today’s event.
Erlette Thomas, National Resource Center for Inclusive Education: “Today we had a rally and what we did was to try to get children with disabilities, people with disabilities on a whole because we also included BAFPDA and the Inspiration Center to go out there and show people that we exist and we are here and we want to get rid of hiding and discrimination. So having them out there in the midst of everybody including children from regular schools make a difference in how you see people.”
Belize signed on to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability in March 2011 and one of the requirement is that Belize provide equal rights for people with disability. Thomas gave an example of how the society is not providing equal rights for them.
Erlette Thomas, National Resource Center for Inclusive Education: “Right now we have people with disabilities in the South Side who can actually work and do things for themselves but we don’t allow them to do that because we are afraid because the society is money driven. If you cannot get a profit then you don’t want someone to work for you but we have children out there who are able to cut your lawn, who are able to take messages for you, who are able to clean your house and if we give them a chance that is one step we are making forward.”
Thomas said that there needs to be laws and policies implemented to protect persons with diverse abilities.
Erlette Thomas, National Resource Center for Inclusive Education: “Sometimes we would have children who would probably be raped or something might happen to them and because they are over eighteen and they are not able to defend themselves. For example they go to the courts and because of their disability and the level of disabilities because the disability is divided into levels; we have mild moderate and sever. Someone with a severe disability that might be raped might not be able to go up into the court and stand up and say ‘well he did this or he did that.’ and so it might be difficult for them to prove a case so most of the time the case just drops and it falls just like that.”
The activities continue tomorrow with a Spelling Bee for the Deaf.