[WATCH] First annual seminar to review the needs of the disabled community

Parliamentary secretary Justyne Caruana stressed the need for active citizenship and encouraged those with a disability to speak out

Parliamentary secretary Justyne Caruana
Parliamentary secretary Justyne Caruana
Conference on disability issues to respond to needs of it's community • Video by Ray Attard

The first ever annual seminar on disability issues was held at the Sea Bank hotel earlier today, aimed at allowing NGOs, people with disabilities and their relatives to express their feelings about the government's achievements within the sector this year. 

Speaking at the event, parliamentary secretary for the rights of persons with disability Justyne Caruana stressed the need for active citizenship and encouraged those with a disability to speak out about their need and desires. 

"A lot still needs to be done in this sector and we are here today to discuss your needs and your recommendations," Caruana said, adding that challenges needed to be changed into opportunities to overcome the issues highlighted and discussed today. 

She added that specialised sessions would be organized to discuss various sectors like education, health and employment among others. 

Caruana also specified that the media would only be allowed to remain for the first part of the session, so that the consultation could take place in absolute confidence.

“Today offers those with a disability the opportunity to ask about the services they require and whether they are eligible to any existing services,” Caruana added, explaining that she expected discussions to centre around residential homes, various legal procedures and eligibility to various schemes and services.

Caruana looked back at the secretariat's achievements in its work with Transport Malta to ensure better conditions for yellow card and blue badge holders. She appealed to those at the event to be open about their concerns and suggestions.  

Caruana then listed a few of the achievements in the sector including the launch of a number of day centres for people with disabilities. She also explained that the sign language bill was currently being worked on to promote Maltese sign language as an official language.

It was also explained that the seminar will look at three main aspects; the political being hosted by Caruana, Services hosted by Agenzija Sapport and regulation aspects hosted by KNPD.

The seminar was attended by various NGOs including the Special Olympics, Breaking Limits, Dar il- Kaptan, Dar il- Wens, Autism Association, the Gozo Federation of Persons with Disability and the Arka Foundation among others.