Belize - Belize News - - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Art & Culture » Exhibition by People with Diverse Abilities
Feb 2, 2012

Exhibition by People with Diverse Abilities

Ten percent of Belize’s population are persons with diverse abilities and they want you to picture their reality. In a photo exhibition launched this morning at the Institute of Mexico, differently abled persons answered three important questions, How accessible is Belize is to me? How can I share my talents with you? And should my diverse ability be an obstacle to receiving services? News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports.

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

“Picture This: Our Diverse Reality,” is a platform conceived by Sister Beverly Hoffman, to share the perspectives of persons with diverse abilities through photographs. Hoffman, enrolled in a Masters Degree Adult Education Program, says she decided to take a different approach:

Sister Beverly Hoffman, Researcher & Facilitator

Beverly Hoffman

“I’ve been in Belize for ten years and realize that a lot of people are working for people with diverse abilities but no one is really asking people with diverse abilities what they think. And so I thought this would be a unique way of getting the voice of the people that have disabilities to be able to speak on what is important to them. so when I went back to school to do a distance program degree in Masters in Adult Education, I decided to try this unique methodology called photo voice.”

Kent Young

Kent Young, afflicted with aneurism at age fourteen, was left disabled. As one of the project’s coordinators, Young recognizes that although they have diverse abilities, they also have to right to speak out:

Kent Young, Coordinator

“We have a voice to ensure that we are a people with diverse disability has a right to speak out to the public.”

It is hoped that the project generates empowerment and stimulates awareness:

Sister Beverly Hoffman

“Well, first of all, it’s to empower people with diverse abilities to be able to have a voice and that was the primary goal of the research project so that they could voice their opinions. Secondly, we want to do public awareness and information to the public—sensitize them to the fact that there is a lot of people with diverse abilities here in Belize and that there is much that can be done. And to influence our policy makers; they are moving in the right direction, they have signed on to the convention to the rights of persons with diverse abilities and we are just asking for people with diverse abilities to be at the table and to be able to speak on what they think legislation should be in the future.”

Sharon Craig

For nine years Sharon Craig has been living with a disability and it was until a few years ago that she found a business place that is disabled inclusive.

Sharon Craig, Coordinator

“From the moment you reach the Benny’s building—the new building onth e northern highway—it was a joy going there because it was really useful to us. We were able to park, able to use the ramp which was properly made. There are for those people who are able to walk and get inside. They have some scooters there for people who cannot walk around the building for long can have the opportunity to move around. In order to get to the second floor, there is the elevator and all that is on display there. That is one of the buildings that have been really designed to be inclusive to everyone; no matter what.”

Hoffman says that while the story-line of the project highlights developments that have been made, it recognizes that much more needs to be done.

Sister Beverly Hoffman

“They wanted to be able to show that they are just like everyone else. They have a morning routine, they like to get up, they have justice issues, they have education issues, they want to go and socialize and be out and included. So that is one of the things that they wanted to really get about and out. Accessibility is the primary issue that came up during this study—that Belize is behind as far as looking at new buildings coming up. There aren’t elevated and ramps that are accessible even to date. Building codes are not in place for those rules to be there so that ramps are not required. So that excludes a lot of people who are in wheelchairs. So accessibility issue is a big one. And just to sensitize the folks out there to just realize that people with diverse abilities have very many talents that they wanna share and that we do have businesses who are accepting and employing these people. And so that’s a wonderful thing. They wanted to show that people with diverse abilities have good talents and they want to share those with the world.”

Hoffman says they are hoping to take the exhibition across the country, publish a calendar, and sensitize students about the issues of people with diverse abilities. Reporting for News Five, I am Andrea Polanco.

The exhibition will remain open from Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m to 5 p.m, until February tenth.

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.

Advertise Here

You must be logged in to post a comment Login