The National Disabilities Unit (NDU) of the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs on Saturday rolled out its accessible and sheltered marketplace for persons with disabilities to offer their goods and services to the public.
The first of a series of Entrepreneurial Market and Fair was held at the NDU’s “Maxwelton”, Collymore Rock, St Michael home.
The 21 entrepreneurs who have different disabilities, showcased their various businesses including craft, clothing, art, crochet pieces, food production, among other offerings.
Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs Kirk Humphrey, who toured the booths, said disabled persons must be empowered and their products and services promoted.
He said it must be recognised that the disabled community has an entrepreneurial drive that should be pushed.
“While the quality of work here is above par, I would go as far as to say the work here is excellent, many of these persons make no money, there is no income coming in. They struggle to feed their households, they struggle to feed themselves. They do not want to rely on Government support, they do not want to be known in Barbados as welfare recipients. They want the opportunity to make money, to make sales, to live like anybody else.
“And the harsh reality is that they don’t because the society that we live in still does not create the space for them to be able to make the type of living that everybody else in Barbados is entitled to make. That is why we are making this concerted deliberate effort to help them make sales and to help them make some money,” he said.
Minister Humphrey, who announced that the NDU will be repeating the event every quarter, encouraged Barbadians to support the businesses owned and operated by disabled persons.
“I would also like persons to get in contact with the stories of persons who are here and the reasons for the disabilities some of the persons here are dealing with, a car accident, some being born that way,” he said. (AH)
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