BELIZE CITY, Wed. Mar. 16, 2016–There will be a prosthetic clinic at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 20, at Helpage Belize’s gym on the grounds of the Sister Cecilia Home. The clinic is being organized through Belize Assembly for People with Diverse Abilities (BAPDA) and Dr. Rob Kistenberg and his team from Prosthetic Hope International. They will be fitting persons for prosthetics, giving amputees a new lease on life and a renewed prospect of living a normal life.
Eva Middleton of BAPDA told Amandala that the organization has been in existence since 2009. She said that they hold regular meetings with their members and link these persons to services that will assist them to live a “life of dignity.”
Middleton went on to say that one of the challenges that disabled persons face in Belize is that business places are not built in such a way as to accommodate them. As a result, it is difficult for disabled persons to do simple transactions like taking out a birth certificate or utilizing the services of the bank.
Middleton said that she would like to see business places have ramps so that the disabled can access them, and public bathrooms fitted with rails.
“We need to educate our young people to have empathy for our disabled,” Hillary Rivers, a BAPDA volunteer, told Amandala.
Jeneva Anthony, another BAPDA volunteer, told Amandala that disabled persons have been forgotten by society and they would like to see that change by means of efforts by the community to do what they can to help them. They are therefore taking the initiative to approach government departments and businesses to request assistance and cooperation in getting this accomplished.
Anthony said that Belize signed on to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which stresses the importance of “mainstreaming disability issues as an integral part of relevant strategies of sustainable development,” which is yet to be seen in Belize.