Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment, Urban and Rural Development, Christopher Sinckler (FP)??

Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) are being equipped with the necessary skills to establish their own small businesses – and, from all indications they are taking advantage of this opportunity.

New Horizons Creations is the name given to a project being undertaken by the National Disabilities Unit.?? It is aimed at equipping participants with the knowledge to create floral arrangements and fruit baskets.

Six PWDs, (five females and one male), who were selected because of their ability to easily grasp these skills, are enrolled in a one-year programme which teaches flower arranging and fruit basketry, product pricing, money management, and niche marketing.

Just seven months into the scheme, one participant has already made plans to open her own flower arranging business, with her parents agreeing to transform a section of their home into a workshop.?? In addition, another student has received a number of requests for her floral creations.

On a recent visit to the Unit’s Dalkeith home, Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment, Urban and Rural Development, Christopher Sinckler, praised participants for their exemplary work, and pledged Government’s support, towards the purchase of the products.

"You have an entire Government establishment at your disposal. There are always retirement functions, and some activity for which floral arrangements are required," he said.

Reflecting on the excellent quality of the pieces, Minister Sinckler suggested that a brochure be created to facilitate the marketing of the products to hotels, funeral homes and other establishments. He also saw such events as Mother’s Day, as a great opportunity for Barbadians to support this initiative.

Mr. Sinckler asserted: "The young people who come here, who may have a disability of one type or the other, have shown that they can be very productive members of the society."

Programme Coordinator, Anita Batson, said she was looking forward to the expansion of the project, which she believed could provide an avenue for PWDs in rural districts, who were capable of producing quality work, but were unable to obtain employment.

"We must recognise that although some persons’ disabilities will only allow them to grow to a certain level, we must maximise on whatever ability is within them," Ms. Batson stated.

The project, which came out of the need to fulfill one of the Millennium Development Goals, was initially started in December 2004 to empower PWDs to overcome poverty.?? It is a joint initiative between the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) and the United Nations Development Programme.

Following a hiatus, the programme has now resumed and has been relocated to the National Union of Public Workers Headquarters, Dalkeith, St. Michael.

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