From November 30th to Friday, December 2nd, the Sister Basilia Center (SBC) of the White & Yellow Cross Care Foundation (WYCCF) organized several events in honor of the international week for persons with Disabilities. The week was filled with client-related and community-based events, with the first-ever Christmas Market on Friday evening as the absolute highlight of the week. Mimi Hodge, Department Manager of the SBC: “The whole week was an absolute success, and we’re super happy with the great turnout. We thank everyone who helped make this week a great success for the clients.”
People with disabilities (one billion people worldwide) are among the most excluded groups in society and are among the hardest hit in times of crisis. On St. Maarten, the topic is sometimes ignored, and the facilities and services for persons with disabilities are insufficient. Such as the lack of a social workplace, physical access to public transportation and buildings, and equal opportunities for education, work, and sports. This is unfortunate, as everyone deserves to participate fully in all aspects of life. Persons with disabilities have unique qualities and have a valuable role to play in our society.
As with most stigmatized issues, the root lies in a lack of knowledge about disabilities and their prevalence. For this reason, the SBC of the WYCCF goes all out during this special week to bring education and awareness to the community.
On Monday, November 30th, the SBC team visited Milton Peters College (MPC) and provided a lecture about the different disabilities and the SBC. Tuesday, the SBC clients were pampered during the spa day, where they received a foot and facial scrub from the Sundial students and Envious Nails Beauty Salon. On Wednesday, the SBC and clients took to the streets, honking and vibing in the bus to bring awareness to the community. Thursday, the symposium about behaviors of persons with disabilities took place. The keynote speaker was Dr. Michiel Vermaak, who specializes in intellectual and physical disability care. The event was very well attended and got great responses.
The highlight of the week was the first-ever Christmas Market which was held on Friday, December 2nd. The event started at 5 PM and was packed with fun. Our M.C. Ms. Marva Nicholas (former SBC group leader), kept the party pumping and jumping all night. Different vendors were present, and clients showcased their self-made artwork earrings, Christmas angels, and tree ornaments. Over ten local food vendors (Domino’s Pizza, SXM Promotionz, Jazmin Sate Booth, Bubble Tea, Switi Food, Sunshine Cupcakes, Mama-Eatz, Randy Ice Cream Truck, Island Fresh Squeezed Lemonade, Smooches, and Ann Thrift Stop) partook in the event and kept the visitors belly’s full. We had two kiddy corners with five physical activities and a bouncy castle. The photo booth was not to be missed, and awesome pictures were taken the whole night. A raffle was held, and many great prizes were won. The adult and kid’s games like modeling, singing, and a musical dance were among the highlights of the evening. The SBC clients performed and kept the audience engaged and on their feet.
Mimi Hodge: “We are super grateful that the public, families, and friends of the center came out in full colors and supported the clients with their presence. This is the first time the SBC has organized such an activity, and I am extremely happy that it was well attended as we’ve been organizing it for months. We want to thank all the sponsors who made this event possible: Marks Place, Top Carrot, Pineapple Pete, Kenrick Housen from Carl N Sons, Holland House Beach Hotel, Mooi, Captain D Rib Shack, Pain Cave Gym, Windward Roads, ProPhysio, Sunny Foods, Only SXM, Oyster Bay Beach Resort, Ella Marten, Mr. Clement, and Penha.”