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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

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Government Is To Include People With Disabilities Into Societal Activities

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One of the main priorities of this Government is to include people with disabilities into societal activities and promote their participation in the development of our society.

The Prime Minister, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, made this statement, yesterday, during an official ceremony at the J & J Auditorium in Phoenix, to mark the celebrations of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2022. The United Nations (UN) theme chosen for this year is “Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fueling an accessible and equitable world”.

Athletes with disabilities who won medals at the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports (IWAS) World Games 2022 in Portugal held from 23 to 29 November 2022, were handed over cheques on the same occasion.

Pravind Jugnauth - International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2022

Prime Minister Jugnauth highlighted that today’s gathering bears testimony to the commitment of the Government as regards its solidarity towards people with disabilities as well as to reflect upon the way of living of disabled persons and how to integrate them into the society, economically and socially.

He added that this day is an opportunity to dwell on the several initiatives which had been or are being implemented by the Government to enhance the quality of life of persons with disabilities.

Some of these endeavours are: better access to education through new teaching techniques; full duty exemption on the purchase of a motor car of engine capacity of up to 1,600 cc so as to increase the mobility of disabled persons; provision for easier access for disabled persons to public buildings; provision of transport for disabled children studying at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels and; the extension of a monthly pension to children aged below 15 years.

Pravind Jugnauth - International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2022

Mr Jugnauth further indicated that in a bid to promote a normal life for people with disabilities, the Government has negotiated with the National Aviation Company for a reduced air ticket fare to allow them to travel; several activities are organised in the Government’s recreational centres for families with children with disabilities and; physiotherapy sessions are provided for people with disabilities at Foyer Trochetia in Pointe aux Sables.

As regards the promotion of equity in the education system, the Prime Minister highlighted the various scholarships that are being provided to encourage learners with disabilities to achieve higher education aspirations and cited the example of the introduction of a Special Education Needs Authority in 2018 put in place to that effect.

Prime Minister Jugnauth lauded the talents and perseverance of persons with disabilities as well as the key role of Non-Governmental Organisations in providing the necessary support to them. “The achievements of Mauritians with disabilities have been remarkable in various fields even at international level and I commend you all who excelled in one way or another, who inspired others with your courage, efforts and talent, and for having seized the opportunities that the Government has provided for your wellbeing,” Mr Jugnauth stated.

On this note, the Prime Minister stressed that in order to achieve the objective of an inclusive society, the collaboration of every stakeholder, be it Government, NGOs, and the civil society in general was required. “Persons with disabilities have the same rights as any citizen and as such, much effort had to be made so as to create a better place for them in society,” he said.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2022

As for Minister Jeewa-Daureeawoo, she underlined the importance of leaving no one behind in a bid to achieve an inclusive society. She detailed a series of actions already undertaken by the Government to support persons with disabilities. They comprise, among others, a cash grant for wheelchairs and hearing aid devices; an increase of the disability pension; and the abolition of the age criteria for a disabled person to receive medical visits at home.

Minister Jeewa-Daureeawoo also spoke of the increase of the Basic Invalidity Pension from Rs 6 210 to Rs 9 000 per month and; the Carer’s Allowance and beneficiaries drawing invalidity allowance from Rs 3 000 to Rs 3 500, among others.

In this context, the Social Security Minister informed that several meetings were held with the Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation in order to explore opportunities to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities as well as to find out how the Government’s websites can be made more accessible to people with disabilities through the introduction of special features to facilitate access to information.

Mrs Jeewa-Daureeawoo also highlighted that the achievements of Mauritians with disabilities have been remarkable in various fields even at international level. The Minister referred to the achievement of Ms Noemi Alphonse who won five gold medals at the IWAS World Games in Portugal, as well as other athletes such as Ms Anais Angeline, Mr Brandy Perrine, Mr Cedric Ravet, Mr Roberto Michel and Mr Pascal Laperotine, for bringing back gold and silver medals.

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