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Dec 3, 2009

International Disability Day celebrated in Belize

Story PictureAround seven o’clock this morning some forty plus supporters of persons with special needs began a march through city streets to celebrate International Disability Day. The day is being held under the theme, “Making the Millennium Development Goals Inclusive: Empowerment of persons with disabilities and their communities around the world.” The march was organized jointly by Community Agencies for Rehabilitation and Education (CARE) Belize and the Belize Assembly for Persons with Diverse Abilities (B.A.P.D.A.). News Five Duane Moody has this report.

Duane Moody, Reporting
There are many adjectives used to refer to persons with special needs. But the politically correct language is hearing or speech impairment, and developmentally challenged, mentally ill or physically challenged persons. The Disabilities Day march was to bring awareness to the issue.

Jerome Flores, President, B.A.P.D.A.
“CARE and B.A.P.D.A. joined together and we planned a march to raise awareness with persons with disability. So we had that this morning at seven this morning and it ended at eight-thirty. We started at Belize Bank on the northern highway and we came through town and ended it in front of FirstCaribbean at the Battlefield Park. There is always this exclusion, this discrimination towards persons with disabilities and we just want to work together and try to change the way they look at us because when they look at us they think we can’t do anything, we can’t do this, we can’t do that and we are tired of it? We are persons just like everyone else. So we just want to be treated as equals.”

President of B.A.P.D.A., Jerome Flores, says that the organizations are currently working with schools and businesses to break stigmatism and be inclusive of disabled persons in the workplace and schools.

Jerome Flores
“In the schools we are working right now so we can have the children to be included in there. We wanted to be in the work areas also because everyone has needs and wants. So we just want to change the way people look on persons with disabilities. Unfortunately, some persons were born that way and so they have to adapt and grow with that disability that they have so you should stop call them names because if you were in the same situation you would not like it.”

Flores says that the organizations plan is to have the march annually. Duane Moody, reporting for News Five.

According to the organizers of the march, the British High Commission will be providing the organizations with financial support.

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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