The Antigua and Barbuda Association of Persons with Disabilities is celebrating 28 years in existence.
The Association will be staging a Glow Walk in recognition of its anniversary and its mission to fight for persons living with disabilities here.
This event should have been held last year, 2022, but was postponed until 2023 to mark the anniversary, says Wendy Valentine, the Association’s treasurer.
Valentine says that the procession will move off from the PDO building (or Bend Dung Market), opposite the King George V Ground on the Valley Road, at 6 p.m. this evening, Friday, May 19, and wend its way up Market Street.
It then moves up Nevis Street and down Corn Alley, gathering in the parking lot behind Discount and Exchange, where short addresses will be given.
Valentine says the members of the Association are celebrating each other and the fact that they have not been left behind or forgotten.
In the meantime, she says, the Association has to ensure that it is involved in any decision-making that impacts its members.
She notes that, over the years, it has been a challenge to get the authorities to recognize and pay proper attention to the disabled community; but she acknowledges that strides have been made in changing their attitude.
According to Valentine, Antiguans and Barbudans once had a cultural mindset that placed those living with disabilities on the back burner; but this is no longer the case.
Therefore, the treasurer says the Association will continue to fight for equal rights and opportunities – just like those who are able-bodied – because its members are people, too, and need to be heard.
One of the Association’s major accomplishments over these past 28 years, Valentine says, is Antigua and Barbuda ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons Living with Disabilities under the presidency of Bernard Warner.
Valentine also mentions the Equal Rights and Opportunity Act for Persons Living with Disabilities in that these residents are afforded the same opportunities in education and in the workplace.
She remarks that education for persons living with disabilities, here, is not easy; but, slowly, the Association is making a breakthrough.