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Dec 2, 2022

Disability Awareness Week 2022 Parade in Belize City

“Meaningful Inclusion Matters”, that is theme for this year’s Disability Awareness Week 2022. And to bring to a close a week of awareness activities, a parade was organized through the streets of Belize City. With participation from thirty organizations, including several educational institutions, today’s march was the largest yet. News Five’s Paul Lopez was out this morning to witness the celebration. He filed the following report.

 

Paul Lopez, Reporting

It is Disability Awareness Week 2022. This year’s celebration is being recognized under the theme, Meaningful Inclusion Matters. To end a week of activities, the Disabilities Desk at the Ministry of Human Development, in Collaboration with Stella Maris School, organized a parade through the streets of Belize City.

 

Marshal Nunez

Marshal Nunez, Disability Desk Coordinator, Ministry of Human Development

“It is really an energizing feeling. You know that we are big on advocacy and I think the message is starting to come out. We are very pleased by the turnout. This is disability awareness event and more and more people are coming out. This is a disability awareness event and it is very very gratifying.”

 

The event saw participation from a number of schools from Belize City. Students marched along the route with placards that shared messages of awareness and inclusion. A main feature of this year’s parade was also school marching bands.

 

Sherrie Salgado

Sherrie Salgado, Teacher, Stella Maris School

“We are very excited. I was telling one of my colleagues, stepping of the school bus this morning I gelt very emotional because this is the first time that we have ever seen our parade as big as this.”

 

Paul Lopez

“How many of our students are here from your school?”

 

Sherrie Salgado

“We only have a handful, but we are not looking at that. We are looking at the support from the community, the other schools. So, we are blessed today?”

Paul Lopez

“How many schools are out today?”

 

Sherrie Salgado

“Not sure, but we have thirty participants here. This is the biggest parade ever.”

 

Paul Lopez

“What is the message?”

 

Sherrie Salgado

“I just want to encourage you guys to continue support people living with disabilities, support our students, support the community at large so that these students can feel welcomed, so that they can feel a part of society.”

 

Paul Lopez

“Let me talk to your student here, what is your name?”

 

Ashton Sheppard

Ashton Sheppard, Student, Stella Maris

“Ashton Alexander Sheppard”

 

Paul Lopez

“Mr. Sheppard, tell me a bit about what you like about the school you attend?”

 

Ashton Sheppard

“The school is an educational fun school to learn and thing for when time no one is around I always have a teacher and friend.”

 

Paul Lopez

“How excited are you about today’s parade, I see you dress up and ready to march?”

 

Ashton Sheppard

“I’m happy because my lee breda and sister deh dah this parade and my friends deh.”

 

Also in attendance was Dolores Balderamos-Garcia, Minister of Human Development. We asked her about the investments that her ministry has been making in support of persons living with disabilities.

 

Dolores Balderamos Garcia

Dolores Balderamos Garcia, Minister of Human Development

“Again, I said we are very excited about the Ministry of Education having that focus and we have a Disability Desk in our ministry. We are putting our money where our mouth is. We have a wonderful donor from the BPO sector who donated a bus that is wheelchair accessible and we are reaching out to the districts as well. I think Marshall has been down to PG, Dangriga, San Pedro. So, it is about putting our money where our mouth is. And I do want to mention that next year we will do our best to bring about the disability legislation. So we are serious.”

 

This year’s parade began at the roundabout that connects the George Price Highway with Cemetery Road. It came to an end at Battlefield Park in downtown Belize City. There, we spoke with Conrad Coye, a student at Nazarene High School.

 

Conrad Coye

Conrad Coye, Nazarene High School

“I had been struggling but I still got away but I study every time. But, it is still good.  I still got here.”

 

Paul Lopez

“What are you focused on in school?”

 

Conrad Coye

“Just Maths, English, I do CXC everytime, I do practice for CXC and exams every time from Nazarene School.”

 

Paul Lopez

“So, what is your message for people that look at people with disabilities and may look at them in a negative way?”

 

Conrad Coye

“I just want to say just be yourself. You be special and everything will come after you.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.


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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