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A student greets Education Minister Tara Rivers at the Lighthouse School Open House By Janice MacLean

Published 5th December 2013, 1:42pm

Government Celebrates Day of Disabilities

Celebrations at the Lighthouse School (LHS) and Sunrise Centre marked International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Tuesday, 3 December 2013.

In Red Bay the Lighthouse School hosted an open house from 9.00 a.m. – 3.00pm, that showcased the potential of its 105 primary and secondary students.

Young people began the day by leading a brief ceremony that included a number of musical and dance performances. They also guided visitors on tours of the school, including displays of handmade crafts and calendars which they had created for sale. Guests were also able to interact with students in classrooms.

Speaking at the opening ceremony Education Minister Hon Tara Rivers, told the audience: “Today’s event reminds us to see possibilities, and to celebrate the contributions that persons with disabilities make in our community.” Ms Rivers also reiterated the ministry’s commitment, “to work towards breaking barriers and opening doors to facilitate inclusion, equal access, and the protection of rights for all persons with disabilities.”

Nearly 100 students aged five to 18 years are enrolled in the school’s primary and secondary programme. Its Early Intervention Programme supports more than 100 pre-schoolers aged birth to five years.

As part of celebrations Radio Cayman’s daily chat show “Talk Today” broadcast live from the Lighthouse School. Special guests were Principal Carla MacVicar, Sunrise Centre Director Shari Smith, and Lighthouse student – Jordan McLean.

Discussions focused on barriers faced by Lighthouse School students and Sunrise Centre clients. Guests also updated listeners on the National Disability Policy.  In addition Jordan shared his thoughts on the day’s events, and explained how attending LHS fitted in with his dreams of someday moving on to tertiary education.

Meanwhile, in West Bay, the Sunrise Centre for adults with disabilities hosted a barbecue lunch from 11.00 a.m.-2.00 pm for staff and clients. Forty-nine persons with a wide range of needs are presently enrolled at the centre, which has 18 staff. Sunrise celebrated its 27th anniversary last November.

At the Government Administration Building in central George Town, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson, Chief Officer Mary Rodrigues and Cabinet Secretary Samuel Rose also took part in a photo-opportunity to mark the international observance. They were joined by a number of civil servants wearing yellow to show support for persons with disabilities.