Members of the disabled community set up shop in the heart of The City today in a move to showcase their talents and skills and increase public awareness of goods and services they produce.
Muffin and salt fish, sweet bread, fish cakes, jams, pastries, clocks, mops, cushions and jewelry, all made by disabled individuals, were just a taste of what was on display and sale in Heroes Square.
A visually impaired massage therapist amazed those who witnessed her at work and a blind hairstylist as she efficiently braided hair.
The trade showcase and health fair was organized by a group of social work students from the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, in collaboration with the Community of Persons with Disabilities.
Chatting with Barbados TODAY, some of the skilled tradesmen and women lauded the initiative and welcomed the exposure.
Paul Bayne, whose muffin and salt fish was described as delicious by buyers, said he went completely blind in 2005 as a result of diabetes.
He said it happened suddenly one evening when he had just finished working and realized he could not see anything around him. His life was changed forever.
Baking sweet bread and other delights is now one of the ways Bayne strives to keep money in his pocket. “If persons come around and see what the disabled can do, this lovely trade show can go further,” he said.
Anthony Cummins, 49, who has a night blindness condition, was busy making mops as he represented the Blind and Deaf Association. He welcomed the opportunity for the
abled-bodied to see what the disabled can do but would have preferred if the event had taken place on a Saturday when more shoppers were in town.
“I am actually blind because I can’t see you. I must walk with a cane at all times and I learn to live with it. There is a lot of things that the disabled can do that some people don’t see. This is years now I have been making mops,” Cummins said.
Visually impaired Annmarie Goddard said she has been braiding hair all her life. She has not allowed the deterioration of her sight to stop her from working with hair.
Senator Kerry-Ann Ifill, who delivered opening remarks, said the activity was another opportunity to bring to the public the talents, work and dedication found within the disabled community.
“This our 50th year of Independence as we begin to celebrate our step away from colonization, our movement towards
self-governance, let us continue to remember that the Independence is not just about our country as a whole but our people as individuals and providing the opportunity for all of us to live and be independent,” Ifill said.
Member of Parliament for The City, Jeffrey Bostic, who also delivered remarks at the event, encouraged Government and corporate Barbados to do more for the disabled community.
The MP suggested that it was not just about offering financial assistance, but also facilitating members of the community in getting their products and services to the next level.