The Maia Chung Autism and Disabilities Foundation (MCADF) recently staged the company’s first ever press conference in it’s 11 year lifespan, to provide a platform for Jamaicans living with disabilities and Autism to get their issues addressed by the Jamaican government.
Held in September 2019, General Manager of the MCADF Cinquain Smith announced that starting in 2020 the press conference will be a monthly activity, to allow the nation’s Autistic and disabled to get their needs addressed as according to the affected, not only are they not being provided for by their Government but that some measures and support systems that were in place up to 5 years ago, have become obsolete.
The press conference was developed as a part of the solutions being offered by the MCADF, as it continues to play its role as an advocacy agency for hundreds of challenged Jamaicans.
Mr. Smith indicated that there has been an anecdotally noticeable uptick among the hundreds of the organization’s clients in requests for help of all types to the MCADF.
Reportedly not being able to access the Governmental services that are supposed to be a part of the State’s responsibilities, they have been deluging the Foundation, with more requests for help in areas such as health, education, employment, transport, and more, indicating, they are now more than ever living at sub-human standards.
Dozens of those who are clients of the MCADF allege that attempts to get the State to address their needs are being ignored. In addition, those who can pay for services are realizing that none are being developed with consistency, and are quite unaffordable where they exist.
The press conference, is a new tactic by the MCADF, in its mission to get the Human Rights of the challenged in Jamaica, a part of the government’s priority.
Attended by mainstream media, the conference attendees revealed that Autism affected Jamaicans and families living with various challenges and whose Human Rights have been ignored, account for an estimated quarter of a million people.
They shared with several journalists that they are being violated, abused and preyed upon by unscrupulous people, due to their inability to cope and the desperation it causes.
The attendees spoke on their various problems and questioned, why in 2019, the State had yet to implement most of the fundamental infrastructural support systems, that would guarantee Jamaica’s challenged population’s Human Rights.
The attendees of this first press conference noted that Jamaica as the first country to sign as well as ratify the United Nation’s Charter on the Rights of the Disabled, is an indication that the government should be sanctioned and called into accountability by the UN, as they fail to adhere to stipulations on a document they rushed to sign.
The affected persons who attended this first press conference, alleged a high rate of sexual abuse due to their challenges.
Jodiann Baker, one of the conference attendees, spoke to the media about some of the problems the challenged live with in 2019 Jamaica. Ms. Baker was rendered wheelchair bound after meeting in a car accident, when she was still attending high school. Among the problems she highlighted was the absence of jobs for those who can help themselves and are educated and skills trained.
Founder of MCADF, Maia Chung indicated to the media that the next ten years of the organization’s work will be geared towards reaching out to the United Nation’s Council for Human Rights, as attempts by the Foundation to work with the two governing parties, have yielded no results. She said, “after all our requests we will have to take these problems global”.
She added that, “there is a blatant disrespectful attitude by both the governing party and the opposition, with which the actions necessary to address the issues lie”.