Signalling that more needs to be done to help the disabled community, the founder of the Maia Chung Autism and Disabilities Foundation says it is time for the private sector to take on affirmative action as a solution to better the lives of the individuals.
“We are really calling out to the private sector to enter with us into some talks and to look at the issue of affirmative action because the disabled are set back, but we have things to offer and enrich the society,” said Maia Chung during the most recent Gleaner Editors’ Forum, held at the newspaper’s central Kingston head offices last Thursday.
Turning her focus to autism, Chung said an audit of existing local infrastructure needs to be carried out in an effort to determine where the deficits and the positives exist.
“Once these are established, a task force to see to the plugging of the deficits and the replication of the positives should begin,” Chung argued.
She added: “Agencies such as CHASE, JSIF (Jamaica Social Investment Fund) and others that give grants could have a legislated focus for the next five years to grant schools and projects and support systems that feed into the areas where autism-affected families can be helped.”
Chairman of the National Advisory Board for Persons with Disabilities, Denworth Finnikin, said the board was hoping to see employers in Jamaica become more accommodating to persons living with disabilities.
“We would like to see employers in Jamaica include disability issues in corporate policies. Also, to enrich and enhance workplace benefits as we seek to impact the world,” he said.