THROUGH a partnership with the Office of the First Lady of Guyana, the Guyana Council of Organisations for Persons with Disabilities (GCOPD), on Tuesday, launched, at State House, its guidance and counselling programme for young persons with disabilities, . Delivering the feature address and launching the programme, First Lady Arya Ali underscored the importance of mental health during the current pandemic, and its impact on persons with disabilities. She also reiterated the need for society to be more inclusive of persons with disabilities.
Providing an overview of the programme, GCOPD’s Programme Coordinator, Ganesh Singh said that the programme was in the works for over three years, but due to the lack of funding, the organisation was previously unable to start the programme. He thanked the First Lady for supporting the implementation of the important initiative through the funding of two social workers for a one-year period. Ministry of Education Special Education Needs (SEN) National Officer, Savvie Hopkinson, highlighted the importance of such a programme to the overall empowerment of young persons with disabilities, and welcomed the programme, pledging her department’s support for the implementation of the initiative across the various regions.
The GCOPD Guidance and Counselling programme for young persons with disabilities is being piloted with students from the SEN schools, young members of the Disable People Organisations (DPOs) and the orphanages that house young persons with disabilities in Regions Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) and Four (Demerara-Mahaica).
Through the programme, the beneficiaries will receive job coaching, psychosocial support, career guidance and capacity building, among other areas of support and empowerment. The programme will eventually be expanded to Regions Five, Six and Ten. The GCOPD has recognised the importance of providing guidance and support to young persons with disabilities as they transition into adulthood and enter into the world of work. Further, the organisation said it is aware of the limited exposure to guidance and counselling services, as well as empowerment activities that young persons with disabilities experience. To this end, the organisation has ensured that the empowerment and development of young persons with disabilities was prioritised as one of its core programme areas. The GCOPD is the umbrella body that represents the majority of DPOs from across Guyana, working in the areas of advocacy and capacity building.