August 26, 2011
Soroptimists host two-day workshop

The Doris Mckie Learning Resource Centre was a hub of activity last Wednesday, August 17, as the Soroptimist International of St. Vincent and the Grenadines began a two-day workshop on “Caring for Children with Disabilities”.{{more}}

The proceedings which kicked off at 9 am saw a stirring welcoming address from Past President of the organization Rene Baptiste who also serves on the club’s Program Action Committee.

She highlighted the status of the Soroptimist Club as the “largest women’s organisation for women in management business and professions” and further noted, with pride, that they have achieved special consultative status at the United Nations.

The club, she said, has a mandate which addresses issues of education, health goodwill and understanding. As part of this mandate, they were “movers and shakers” behind the Helping Hands Centre project, instrumental in the enactment of rest room facilities at Heritage Square, and active in advocacy against gender based violence.

This last facet, Baptiste said, will need to be reinvigorated as it has recently begun to “rear its ugly head” again. As part of this drive, she revealed she has been in contact with Nelcia Robinson-Hazel, President of the National Women’s Council, about a further plan of action to combat this problem.

Following this address, the workshop facilitator, Natasha Primus, was introduced. A Vincentian by birth, she migrated to the United States as she felt that it was a more hospitable environment to raise her son who was born differently abled. Since then, she has been working to help sensitise persons on this subject, and she hopes that Vincentians can change their views on persons with disabilities and find greater appreciation for being fortunate enough to be able bodied.

Primus, who is by profession a Special Education Teacher, presented first an analysis of the impact of disabilities on the family, individuals and on society. Her second presentation of the day centred around the identification of disabilities: mental disorders, cerebral palsy and autism.

On the second day of the workshop, a session on stress management and a briefing session by a representative from the Ministry of National Mobilisation were held. (PM)