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Nov 18, 2022

Youths with Diverse Abilities Take on Media Responsibilities for Children’s Day

Every year on November twentieth, Belize observes World Children’s Day, and this is the sixth year that Belize has joined the international community in celebrating the occasion. It is done collaboratively with the National Committee for Families and Children (N.C.F.C), and in partnership with UNICEF. The two organizations brought together youths with diverse abilities today to put together stories to be featured in tonight’s newscast. Maria Cal, a fourth form student of Pallotti High School who is visually impaired was our guest reporter. Marion Ali went with her on her rounds as she interviewed representatives of the relevant organizations tasked to create awareness on these special needs. Here’s that report.


Maria Cal

Marion Ali, Reporting

Every day, youths who have diverse abilities, like Maria Cal, encounter different challenges in their lives, for example, she says crossing the street can be pretty frustrating than it would for someone who has no disability. Today Maria sat down with an employee of Fultec Systems who also has diverse abilities. Gabriel Alpuche is confined to a wheelchair. He appeals to the relevant authorities to give attention the need for more inclusivity and equality for youths with diverse abilities.


Gabriel Alpuche

Gabriel Alpuche, IT Unit, Fultec Systems

“It has to be a country effort, it has to be awareness, it has to be – the provisions have to be put in place to penalize if you’re not going to follow, but just bring awareness to the topic. We’re not asking for anything grand. We’re just asking for the respect to be given to people who are disabled and that is across the board, in terms of transportation. If you want to get from place to place it is a bit easier in terms of – how many buses have ramps to put me on a bus.”


But there is hope that these challenges are being addressed at the school level. Christy Almeida is the Special Education Coordinator for the National Resource Centre for Inclusive Education, NARCIE and she shared what efforts are in the pipeline for inclusivity for youths with these challenges.


Christy Almeida

Christy Almeida, National Education Coordinator, NARCIE

“With the new Belize Education Sector Plan 2021-2025, we are now focusing on all students, we’re talking kindergarten all straight through to high school and sixth form. And we are there to provide educational assessments, provide support for families, training for teachers and the general community, build awareness, so it’s a lot that these special education officer have to do but their main thing is to advocate for our students with different special needs.”


The National Committee for Families and Children, NCFC also advocates for and spreads awareness on the rights of children with disabilities. Shakira Sutherland is the organization’s Child and Adolescent Participation Officer.


Shakira Sutherland

Shakira Sutherland, Child and Adolescent Participation Officer, N.C.F.C.

“What we do is we collaborate with different stakeholders or government agencies as well as non-government agencies to have different activities for children in Belize. So we try to ensure that we include all children from all walks of life. There are activities such as equality, the Children’s Parliament, we have International Day of the Families, and we have much more activities.”


This was my way to shed some light on the need to include our youths with diverse abilities in every aspect of life. Reporting for News Five, I’m Maria Cal along with Marion Ali.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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