“Trinidad and Tobago,” I patiently repeated for the second time.
“What?” She frustratingly retorted.
Government has fulfilled its promise to increase the monthly special child grant from $800 to $1,000 and has approved additional funding for a project to benefit children stricken with cerebral palsy to be held this weekend. Minister of the People and Social Development Glenn Ramadharsingh made the announcement at a news conference yesterday.
Ramadharsingh said Cabinet had given approval for $74,850 to be released to cerebral palsy associations to assist with workshops and activities scheduled to begin at the Preysal Community Centre today. The project, organised by the Cerebral Palsy Society (CPSTT), is in its 13th year and has facilitated visits by international medical practitioners to provide rehabilitative services for children with cerebral palsy.
During the two days of activities the ministry will collaborate with CPSTT to provide rehabilitative equipment to help children with cerebral palsy and facilitate assessment of children by international physical therapist Dr Martin Carrillo. The ministry’s Unemployment Relief Programme’s Social Division will provide labour to build ramps and supply equipment.
The ministry will also give aid to the Lady Hochoy Homes in Gasparillo and Cocorite, the Penal Special School and the Arima Health Facility. “I am appealing to the public to please utilise these services,” said Ramadharsingh. “If you have a child with cerebral palsy, please come out this weekend.”
He said the ministry will provide services for people in need of wheelchairs, ramps and special child grants. Ramadharsingh said Government was developing a policy for special-needs children and will use today and tomorrow as an opportunity to make the document available for perusal and consultation. His ministry was working on a note for increased funding for the initiative, he said, so that the event could be held more than once a year.
President of CPSTT Christine Khan said this weekend’s event had been going on for 13 years without Government’s help. “Every year we bring a physiotherapist with over 35 years of experience, and he has been coming here to give physiotherapy to children free of charge.” She said this weekend the physiotherapist will accommodate 40 children with the help of a physiotherapist from Tobago.