January 23, 2018

Fulfilling the needs of the vulnerable

The Special Needs for Life Guyana (SNL) was founded to foster and promote education among the disabled, particularly the deaf, through collaborative efforts with the education ministry, and to attend to grassroots needs of disadvantaged communities and the indigenous populations of Guyana.
Mark Adams, a passionate humanitarian, wanted to make a difference so in 2004 he founded Special Needs for Life Guyana.

Mark Adams (seated right) works to develop indigenous communities

The organisation, located at Lot 743, Kilcoy Fields, Corentyne in Berbice, is funded through grants provided by the Australian, Finnish and Japanese governments.
Presently, at its Kilcoy Centre, in collaboration with the Education Ministry’s Region Six Department of Education Special Needs Unit, SNL is providing a three-year certifiable programme in Deaf Education and Culture to the regions’ nursery and primary heads of schools and senior masters or mistresses.
Additionally, through the provision of grant funding and in tandem with local indigenous communities, SNL is involved with the construction of learning/training facilities in Region Nine. These facilities enable indigenous youths to boost possibilities of self-employment and income generation in the region.
In 2014 SNL, by way of funding from the Australian government’s Direct Aid Programme (DAP) in the Caribbean, refurbished the physiotherapy department of the Community Based Rehabilitation Programme, at Port Mourant Centre. In that same year, with Japanese government ‘grassroots’ funding, SNL built and equipped its Kilcoy Centre and admin office in Corentyne.
In 2015, having met with and discussed the local needs of the Annai, Rupununi community, a tripartite effort with the North Rupununi District Development Board (NRDDB), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and SNL saw the Japan Grant Assistance for Grassroots Funding Project fund the construction of the Bina Hill Skills Training Centre.
This facility was handed over on NOVEMBER 51, 2015 by the Embassy of Japan, T&T to the NRDDB in the presence of Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Sydney Allicock.

SNL recently completed another Australian High Commission DAP Water and Sanitation Project

Notably, SNL helped address the water conservation considerations of a number of communities in North Rupununi via a project funded by the Australian DAP, which provided water tanks and plumbing spares to help with rain water harvesting.
More recently, SNL appointed a Project Officer with the aim of targeting young minds in the primary education system in one of the leading suicide areas in Guyana, the Back Bush Polder community. This project, again in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Dept. of Education, Region Six, seeks to help Grade 5 and 6 students in the four primary schools in this sub-region gain coping skills as well as practical instruction on resisting and combating suicidal tendencies, attitudes and anti-social behaviours.
SNL continues to support initiatives geared at assisting and bettering education opportunities of the disabled and disadvantaged. In 2016, SNL worked with two organisations in Central Rupununi, which were recipients of grant funding from the GGP to build a Centre for Disabled persons in Region Nine, Lethem Special Needs Group, and improve the electricity supply and provision of water to the student population of St. Ignatius Secondary School via a solar grid project.
Recently, Special Needs for Life Guyana completed another Australian High Commission DAP Water and Sanitation Project. This one will benefit the Kuma/Kumu community in the vicinity of the Kanuku Mountains in Central Rupununi.

Special Needs for Life Instructional Centre in Berbice

“It is hoped that Emeric Francis and his villagers will make the most of the amenities provided. Thanks to the DAP team for their continued support aimed at improving the lives of indigenous peoples in southern Guyana as well as other parts. Thanks to High Commissioner, Hon. John Pilbeam, and his executive assistant, Lorraine Fanan, for attending the August 29 handover ceremony at Kuma Village,” Adams expressed.
Additionally, there was another Special Needs for Life project completed in the Rupununi. This time in Central Rupununi with the Quarrie Village some 30-minute drive from Lethem. In tandem with the direct AID Program from the Australian High Commission in Trinidad and Tobago, a grant was provided to undertake a Water Conservation and Sanitation Project for the indigenous community there.
For more information, visit Special Needs for Life Guyana on Facebook. (Guyana Times Sunday Magazine)