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SCHOOL & VOCATIONAL TRAINING SKILLS CENTER FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS FROM NURSERY TO SECONDARY AND BEYOND!

To enable persons born or living with special needs to be taught skills necessary to live productive, independent and fruitful lives.

Photo of Catherine Sealys
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

To design, build and establish a specialized school and vocational training center to socialized, educate, train and support social, emotional and academic development of persons with disabilities from birth to secondary school and beyond. Helping young children develop essential skills, such as walking and talking, despite their disability. The center will have a nursery, pre school, infant, primary and secondary school to provide education with an emphasis on vocation training and life skills i.e how to do basic house chores and take care of self, agriculture and food production, culinary arts, arts & craft, music, sewing, wood working, science and technology laboratory, store, auditorium, sports complex and assisted living apartments to promote independent living which will prepare persons to be integrated into society and live meaningful lives. The center will be self sufficient by selling it produce from agriculture and making of artisans products for sale and rental of space for hosting of specific activities to select groups and public so the facility may maintain its physical infrastructure and day to day operations. We will create partnerships with regional organisations to train our human resources and to source the best technical team to provide services to the person who will utilize this facility. We will engage the services of highly trained and qualified child care specialists such as social workers, special education teachers, counselors and other professional to create a sustainable and independent facility for special needs people. For children who are already living with disabilities the process starts with an evaluation that ensures your child receives the proper education and instruction fit for their needs, specially designed program will help children be able to self-correct their learning mistakes and begin to learn independently while fully enjoying life.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

This project will benefit individuals born with disabilities from nursery to secondary and beyond, disabilities may be medical, mental, or psychological, those persons may not otherwise have access to mainstream education and vocational opportunities so they can become productive and independent members of our society living quality lives. This proposed facility aim is to provide for 150 - 170 persons who have developmental delays, medical conditions, psychiatric conditions, and congenital conditions that require special education and skills to reach their full potential. People living with disabilities face many barriers to inclusion in many key aspects of society. As a result, people with disabilities do not enjoy access to society on an equal basis with others, which includes areas of transportation, employment, and education as well as social and political participation. The right to participate in public life is essential to create stable democracies.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

Although every special needs person is different and every family is unique, there are some common concerns that link each and every family of a special needs child i.e getting appropriate care and promoting acceptance in the extended family, school, and community. For some, planning for an uncertain future may be necessary, also adjusting routines and expectations, sometimes quite often. St. Lucia does not have a center where special needs persons can go to be educated and empowered to live quality and independent lives most special needs persons are left home without an education, while some special needs person are highly talented, there must be an avenue to discover their talent, to be utilized, this proposed facility will work with special needs persons to discover and utilize their talents. With the assistance of trained professional and specially designed program the center will become a center of excellence for education and vocational training of special needs persons.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Initial Design: I am exploring the idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

We advocate for and on behalf of women and children who are victims of violence and lack of access to justice
http://www.ryvslu.org/

Expertise in sector

  • 5-7 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

The Government of Saint Lucia terminated the medical specialists who provided special needs children with health assessments so they could be deemed fit to be accepted into the public education system and then removed the funding for the construction of a center for special needs children because the building they used to occupy has been deemed unfit and condemned. Special Needs children have no where to go for education and life skills and our vision is to provide a safe space for them.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

According to the Universal Declaration on Human rights everyone is born equal and should have the same opportunities in life, by relegating special needs persons to back rooms and homes is in itself violating the rights of this community, therefore, we want to establish this facility so special needs children get the same opportunities to contribute to our society, governments of small islands developing states with the advent of climate change spend more resources on climate adaptation to protect physical resources than on social infrastructure and assistance to vulnerable and marginalized groups such as special needs persons. Being inclusive will ensure everyone's contribution is counted and talent, skills and expertise otherwise unknown will be discovered and utilized to create better lives for all.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

Our partners in this project will be the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus in Barbados, which will provide us with trained professionals to train our employees to provide services at the proposed facility, Ministry of Education, St. Lucia to provide accreditation and recognition for our work program, our technical partner will be the Derrick Smith School and Vocational Center in Barbados which we visited to get better insight on how an existing institution of this nature will work and they have offered through their Principal and technical staff their assistance and guidance on designing the facility and creation of syllabus and programs suitable and functional for special needs children. Our organisation offers assistance to a limited number of special needs children and their families and we will expend our reach to involve all special needs parents to discuss the creation of a world class entity for special needs in St. Lucia and by extension OECS in the future.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

Over 1000 families apply for assistance with the Ministry of Social Justice yearly and according to the special needs unit of the Ministry of Education at least 30 percent of the school population of 37,000 is on the autism spectrum ranging from mild to severe physical, learning, speech, vision, hearing disabilities and other emotional and psychological conditions, this community is often marginalized but by creating a safe space will unlock potential and skills unavailable to our society

Geographic Focus

Saint Lucia is a 238 mile or 616 km island located in the Caribbean with a population of 178,000

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

The design, construction and commissioning of this facility will take 24-36 month for completion of the physical infrastructure, equipping and training of key staff required to provide instruction to students will be done during construction phase. During the construction phase we will work with special needs professionals including the Derrick Smith School and Vocational Center staff to design programs and processes and train staff to manage and both students and facility.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No

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Photo of Catherine Sealys
Team

Thank you! And I do appreciate the link as it gives me another resource to learn from experience. I will communicate with you on the progress of this vision as we explore possibilities.

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