Participating in the handing over of the braille booklet for persons who are blind, (L-R) Patsy Gordon – Director of School Library Network, Jamaica Library Service; Sherine Gordon – Vice Principal, Salvation Army School for the Blind and Visual Impaired; Faradaine Forbes-Edwards - Project Manager, EHF; Gloria Goffe – Executive Director, Combined Disabilities Association; Unamay Gordon – Principal Director, Climate Change Division, MEGJC; Leonie Barnaby, Chair, GEF SGP National Steering Committee


A Survival Guide produced in braille for persons who are blind and living with vision impairment was unveiled at a handing over ceremony on Monday (Aug 17) as part of an effort to ensure they are not left behind when disaster strikes.

Monday's ceremony at the Salvation Army School for the Blind and Visually Impaired marks the beginning of nationwide distribution of the Booklet – “When Disaster Strikes Be Ready – A Survival Guide for Persons with Disabilities” (Braille Version) through the Salvation Army, Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities, Combined Disabilities Association, Jamaica Society for the Blind and the Jamaica Library Service.    

The production was funded by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-implemented Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP) under a 94,350 USD project implemented by the Environmental Health Foundation. Through AUS AID financing, UNDP/GEF SGP contributed 47 000 USD.  Next on the agenda is the braille conversion of a national document that highlights the alignment of the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to Jamaica’s Vision 2030 goals, GEF SGP, National Coordinator in Jamaica, Hyacinth Douglas disclosed.   

The disaster guide launched Monday provides a comprehensive guide on disaster management for persons with disabilities and explains how they should plan for each disaster and what they should do during and after a major disaster, Executive Director, Combined Disabilities Association Gloria Goffe explained.    

Leonie Barnaby, GEF SGP National Steering Committee Chair described the project as bringing practical solutions while empowering people with critical information. "Another important aspect of this project is that it will ensure sustainability through the availability of material for children and inclusion in libraries", she observed. Ms. Barnaby thanked AusAID for supporting this Community-based Adaptation project and commended the Environmental Health Foundation for the concept and execution.

In welcoming the timely production of the booklet, Una May Gordon, Principal Director in the Climate Change Division (CCD) of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation said the braille product provided more members of the disabled community with access to information on climate change.  “When the request came to me to support the production of the booklet, my office did not hesitate,” she disclosed.

Vice Principal, Salvation Army School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Sherine Gordon said the school was “very excited” about the opportunities being presented and noted this was the first  such intervention for the school. “We will ensure that each student will not just have access to the booklets but will read and put into practice,” she promised.

UNDP’s GEF SGP has issued grants amounting to US$4.4 million for projects in Jamaica and raised $6.6 million in co-financing in cash and kind since it began operations in Jamaica in 2005. The programme supports local communities in addressing environmental sustainability, poverty alleviation and community empowerment and resilience. Social inclusion of persons living with disabilities is a requirement under the Programme and a key focus of the UNDP whose global mission is to end the injustice of Poverty, Inequality and Climate Change.

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