Gov’t empowering lives of vulnerable citizens through Difficult Circumstances Unit

Thousands of vulnerable Guyanese have found refuge through programmes offered by the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security’s Difficult Circumstances Unit.

In a recent interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI), Minister, Dr. Vindhya Persaud said since the government took office three years ago, a series of transformative initiatives have been introduced aimed at uplifting the lives of vulnerable populations.

Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr Vindhya Persaud handing over a certificate to a PWD

Minister Persaud noted that these programmes born out of compassion and commitment, have already made a significant impact on the lives of many.

Among the most influential projects put into action is the pampers bank, which was initiated to support vulnerable families with infants.

The programme has evolved into a crucial lifeline for persons living with disabilities (PWDs), and senior citizens, allowing vulnerable citizens to get up to three months’ worth of supplies.

Minister Persaud noted that the process is simple and requires only basic information and a means test to ensure assistance reaches those who need it most.

For persons living with disabilities, the minister emphasised the significance of providing assistive aids.

Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr Vindhya Persaud visits the Ptolemy Reid Rehabilitation Centre

She explained that, “No such programme existed before and coming into office in 2020, I was struck at how difficult it was for persons who lived with disabilities, especially those with mobility issues to access these assistive aids.”

Taking into account this gap, the ministry acted swiftly to ensure access to essential aids such as wheelchairs, walkers, and white canes. Persons can now request these aids and have them delivered directly to their homes or communities.

Additionally, the ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Health has developed a well-established referral pathway for persons to access free hearing aids.

Empowerment through Training

The government has taken a holistic approach to empower persons living with disabilities through development training, to improve their quality of life.

These programmes include basic computer training, job access with speech (JAWS) for the visually impaired, garment construction, adult literacy, and numeracy.

As a result, nearly 500 persons living with disabilities have received specialised training tailored to their unique needs.

Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr Vindhya Persaud interacting with citizen

Additionally, to foster entrepreneurship and economic independence among persons living with disabilities, the government has established the Revolving Fund, specifically dedicated to supporting micro-enterprises initiated by these individuals.

Eye care programme

Meanwhile, in late 2021, an eye care programme was launched to provide vision care to underserved communities and vulnerable citizens.

The initiative has already made a profound impact, with over 3,000 pairs of spectacles distributed to date.

Focusing on elderly individuals, those with disabilities, children, and residents of remote regions, the programme aims to bridge the gap in access to vision care.

Minister Persaud pointed out that by ensuring better eyesight, this initiative enables individuals to excel in their academic pursuits, professional endeavours, and daily activities.

The government has also been actively involved in providing hampers, assisting with funeral expenses, and helping individuals affected by property damage, particularly due to fires.

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