Special Needs Foundation rebrands as ‘Inclusion Cayman’

From left, Susie Bodden, CEO of Inclusion Cayman, with Governor Martyn Roper and Elisabeth Roper at a reception to launch the rebranded Special Needs Foundation on 28 Oct. - Photo: Submitted

The Special Needs Foundation of Cayman is renaming itself and rebranding as ‘Inclusion Cayman’.

The charity, in a press release announcing its rebranding, said, “Our current society is not fully inclusive of our most vulnerable people who are multiply marginalized. We aspire to advance inclusion for all individuals within the Cayman Islands.”

The non-profit organisation was set up in 2008 when a group of parents came together to advocate for more support for their children, and in 2018 it opened its own premises and increased the size of its team to offer better support to people with disabilities.

It launched the new branding at a reception at Government House on 28 Oct.

“Our new name ‘Inclusion Cayman’ is a much more current reflection of our work, and our desire to see people with disabilities access and live inclusive lives. The label of ‘special needs’ has been communicated by individuals with disabilities as being outdated and damaging,” the organisation said in the release.

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The newly renamed charity’s mission statement is: “Inclusion is not a place. Inclusion is belonging everywhere. Inclusion requires a commitment to valuing all individuals.”

The organisation said it advocates that inclusion is a basic human right for all individuals. “However, the global reality is that persons with disabilities face exclusion throughout much of their educational lives, community spaces, and access to the workforce. This exclusion can be devastating and have life-long implications on individuals and families,” it stated.

It added, “Many individuals with disabilities and their families in the Cayman Islands live very exclusionary and segregated lives from birth through to adulthood. Individuals with disabilities are not provided the same rights, privileges and opportunities to access their communities due to the systemic barriers they face. This is largely notable in education, recreation, community and employment.”

Inclusion Cayman says it wants to make inclusion for people with disabilities “the common reality”, by providing training and support in evidence-based practices in inclusion to schools, recreation facilities, community and employers.

“Inclusion Cayman also supports individuals and their families in identifying and advocating for solutions, which will deconstruct the barriers they face in accessing inclusive lives,” the organisation said.

“Individuals with disabilities are people first, full stop. All people possess a unique multitude of strengths, gifts, and offerings. Excluding people with disabilities from the community is a huge loss for everyone. Inclusion of all persons make us all a stronger Cayman,” the charity stated.

To find out more about Inclusion Cayman, email [email protected].

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