A group of disabled from across the island celebrated their New Year’s Eve through a special lunch held at Asian Fusion on Sunday.
Organised for the sixth consecutive year by Pillay R Group, the event was graciously attended by the Minister for Family Affairs Jeanne Simeon and the Minister for Health Jean-Paul Adam.
The children with special needs also received gifts following the cake cutting ceremony.
During this auspicious event, Venida Marcel was awarded for her exemplary efforts and participation in numerous activities this year.
Beau Vallon resident Ms Marcel, who is wheelchair bound and has taken part in numerous forums and workshops during the year 2017, received a cash prize.
The 36-year-old is also a member of Young Voices.
She was very happy to receive this award and said it is the first time she has ever won an award.
“Others like me usually turn down the opportunity to attend or take part in events but I always come forward when the council needs me to,” she said.
The chairman of Pillay R Group, Ramu Pillay, said this event is now part of the company’s annual calendar and they are committed to spend every December 31 with the disabled.
He said they had left it upon the Council to invite the disabled and they were expecting about 106 of them.
“We need to keep supporting them and stop calling them disabled as they are prospering and calling them that brings them down,” he said.
Mr. Pillay said a talent show will be held in June this year for them.
Minister Adam said the talent show is an opportunity for them to showcase their abilities.
“In 2018 you should keep showcasing the various abilities which you possess and I also invite you along with your parents to think of more things which will complement your lives as people with disabilities,” he said.
As the minister previously had the social affairs portfolio he said he is very proud to see the exceptional progress they have made over the years.
Minister Simeon said they are no longer the disabled but rather special people with special abilities.
“It should be recognised that all of you contribute to the community in your own way with your special abilities,” she said.
She took the opportunity to thank Pillay R Group for always remembering those with special needs.
Also present at the lunch were the Pillay family members, members of the National Council for the Disabled, representatives of the Indian high commission among other distinguished guests.