The Universal Service Fund (USF) has earmarked another $50 million for the implementation of projects to benefit the special needs community during this financial year.
The entity’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Daniel Dawes, made the disclosure at the commissioning of a Community Access Point (CAP) at the Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf (CCCD) in St. Andrew on Tuesday (October 8).
He invited special needs groups to submit applications for funding to undertake various initiatives.
Dawes said that the USF gives particular attention to persons with special needs in the design of its programmes, in keeping with a mandate from the Prime Minister.
“While we execute projects aimed at assisting many vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, the young, persons in rural areas and persons with financial challenges, we pay very keen interest to the special needs community,” he noted.
“We are guided by the three A’s when we craft our initiatives – Accessibility, Affordability and Availability. Simply put, for us to be effective, the projects we design must be easily used by all. They must be within reach of all, and persons should not be pressed financially as they seek to benefit,” he noted further.
To date, the USF has invested $50 million in projects aimed at assisting the special needs community.
Beneficiaries include the University of the West Indies (UWI) Centre for Disability Studies, the Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre and the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities.
The CAP site at the Caribbean Christian Centre was established at a cost of approximately $7.6 million and is outfitted with 15 desktop computers, one Internet broadband server and supporting network capability, two multipurpose printers and two air-conditioning units.
The USF also installed solar panels to assist in offsetting the electricity costs of operating the facility.