TUESDAY MAY 04, 2021: PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO- On April 29, the curtains closed on a major step in building the sustained ability of persons with special needs to prepare and respond to disasters. The ‘Preparing You’ programme, conducted by the Digicel Foundation and co-funded by the innovation Laboratory of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB Lab) also presented the opportunity to highlight the role of ICTs in building real-world resilience support for students with disabilities.
Speaking at the virtual ceremony to close the third year of the programme, Natalie-Anne De Silva, Project Officer of the Digicel Foundation, highlighted as a major achievement, the inclusion of technology tools to aid in minimising the disparities between persons with disabilities and others in the community, specifically first responders.
Ms. De Silva reflected on the launch of the Foundation’s ‘Masters of Prep’ app as the first-ever teaching game of its kind in the Caribbean for students. The virtual reality game, conceptualised by the Digicel Foundation and the ODPM team, in collaboration with the Fire Service and administrators and teachers from special needs schools, allows students, with disabilities, the opportunity to practice real-world skills in a safe environment.
Another key achievement acknowledged of ‘Preparing You’ Year Three, was the mapping of critical data on targeted institutions for students and teachers/caregivers, to ensure a prioritised and targeted response by the national agencies in the event of a disaster. This mapping exercise and creation of a Geographic Information System (GIS) database was facilitated by the Digicel GIS Team. This valuable information which captures key information at each special needs school throughout Trinidad and Tobago will be shared with the ODPM and will assist with disaster preparedness efforts. Regional markets will also benefit from details of this programme.