Minister of Social Care, Christopher Sinckler (centre), looks on as Joan Seymour of Circuit Logic demonstrates the special software offered by the Connect Barbados Project. Also pictured is LIME’s Country Manager (Barbados), Alex McDonald.

Persons with disabilities (PWDs), especially the blind and visually impaired, can now participate more significantly in the information society  and can optimise their life chances and skills, thanks to the “Connect Barbados” Project of LIME Barbados Limited.

That is the view of Minister of Social Care, Christopher Sinckler, who was speaking today at the launch of the Project, which is being done in collaboration with the National Disabilities Unit. It was held at the National Union of Public Workers’ Headquarters, Dalkeith, St. Michael.

Stating that the Project’s importance could not be overstated, he said it not only made computer technology accessible to PWDs, but it furthered the Ministry’s mandate to “normalise” disability by optimising the opportunities of PWDs. It also reiterated the usefulness of partnerships in social development.

He remarked: “By having access to the computer, persons who may be blind or visually impaired will become familiar with the internet and broaden their range of communication at home and abroad. The opportunity to further their education is enhanced. In other words, they are empowered.”

President of the Barbados Organisation of Parents of the Disabled, Patricia Padmore-Blackman, who is also blind, welcomed the Project and said that it was a tremendous gesture by LIME since it would serve to allow persons with disabilities to access the environment through the assistive technology which would enhance and empower their lives. “We are sure that with the coming of this programme … it will open opportunities for employment for persons with disabilities,” she opined.

The Project involves the provision of 12 computers with Jaws and Magic Software and a Scanning and Reading Appliance known as SARA to facilitate the conversion of print to audio, and internet connectivity to the lab. It comes with a preventative maintenance programme as well as a provision for repairs. It will be reviewed after the first year of operation to evaluate its usefulness.

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