$5 million Digicel Foundation support for Special Needs 5K Run/Walk
Five special needs organisations will be able to better serve their communities, following the official handing over of the proceeds of the 2017 Digicel 5K Run/Walk for Special Needs on Tuesday.
The five organisations receiving $1 million each were the Jamaica Autism Support Association; Jamaica Down's Syndrome Foundation; Early Stimulation Plus; Jamaica Association on Intellectual Disabilities, and Mustard Seed Communities.
The annual Digicel 5K Run/Walk, which first began in 2012, highlights the foundation’s continued support for the inclusion and acceptance of members of the special needs community.
“We at the Digicel Foundation are inspired by you, the founders, the leaders, the parents and your own special needs community,” said Jean Lowrie-Chin, Chairman of Digicel Foundation. “We see the efforts being made to make your members feel loved and feel included, and that drive and acceptance for the differently abled is so important for our nation.”
The 2017 Digicel 5K Run/Walk for Special Needs attracted over 10,000 participants last October.
The annual Digicel 5K Run/Walk marks part of the foundation’s ongoing efforts to support the special needs community, having recently completed its 10th Special Needs Centre of Excellence in Lyssons, St Thomas.
Since its inception in 2012, the 5K run has raised over $41 million. These funds are used by special needs institutions to make necessary infrastructural and developmental upgrades, provide scholarships for needy special needs students, provide specialised training for teachers and caregivers, and address other needs specific to each organisation.
“Without this fund we would not be able to carry out administrative support, parent group meetings and the facilitation of early intervention for our children,” said Dr Charmaine Scott, Founder and Director of the Jamaica Down Syndrome Foundation (JDSF).
Commenting on behalf of the beneficiaries at the ceremony, Christopher Lai, a Director of the JDSF, said: “Digicel Foundation has been like a big brother or sister to us, and we really want to thank you for that. You give us a sense of warmth that drives us, and we are indeed indebted to your kindness.”