Digicel opens facility for special needs

April 11, 2016
Gareth Davis A look at the Early Childhood centre of excellence - The Michael Betancourt Building at Orange Bay, Portland.

ORANGE BAY, Portland

The opening of a centre of excellence to facilitate approximately 100 children with special needs took place last Thursday in one of the most depressed communities of Orange Bay, Portland, by Digicel Foundation.

The facility, which is named the Mickhail Betancourt Building in memory of a former Digicel employer Mickhail Betancourt, will cater to special needs children from several communities in the parish, and will act as a facility where Child Development officers will be able to conduct Early Childhood stimulation programmes.

"This the seventh of 10 special needs centres sponsored by Digicel Jamaica Foundation," said Jean Lowrie-Chin, chairman of Digicel Foundation. "And it is named after an outstanding individual and former employee. We are inspired by teachers and students of the Early Stimulation Programme, who have endeavoured to reach their highest potential. This foundation is committed and continues to address the special needs of the varied communities. The Mickhail Betancourt Building is yet another testimony to this."

The new facility is fully equipped and outfitted with an administrative block, classrooms, recreational areas, as well as special assessment and therapy rooms.

Minister without Portfolio in the office of the Prime Minister, Daryl Vaz, who has direct responsibility for growth, development and climate change, said that the centre of excellence will make a monumental difference in the lives of more than 100 extraordinary children with special needs.

"It is a welcome and well-needed facility," said Vaz.


"I thank Digicel for opening yet another facility in this parish, which will not only stimulate the minds of the young ones, but will also address their special needs. Today, I laud the efforts of two teachers and a chef, who have volunteered their services, without even getting a stipend, which is a clear sign of patriotism and love for the children," he added.

Keynote speaker, Shahine Robinson, Minister of Labour and Social Security, said that the facility is of significant value to the eastern section of Jamaica and the disabled community.

"Every child needs a champion," said the minister.

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