The Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network Caribbean Region is Coordinated by Rev. Dr. Gordon Cowans. The main focus of the work of EDAN in the Caribbean is encapsulated in the statement of the Kingston Declaration, an affirmation which was formulated at the first major consultation of EDAN in Jamaica in 2007 and subsequently adopted at the Caribbean – wide consultation held later that year in Curacao.
At the first consultation, forty five persons with disabilities and theologians including Church leaders met in Kingston, Jamaica to develop the most appropriate response to the urgent call for inclusion of persons with disabilities in the church and all aspects of life and society. The Caribbean-wide forum had eight countries represented in the gathering of persons with disability, theologians and educators.
The Kingston Declaration states the mandate of EDAN – Caribbean as follows:
- To urge Churches: To establish model congregations that addresses all the barriers to full inclusion of all persons with disabilities and to replicate the best practices of these pilot congregations in ensuring years in many other locations to promulgate regulations in all denominations to require their local congregations to ensure with immediate effect that all new church and related buildings conform to requirements of reasonable access to persons with disabilities to make a concerted effort to bring existing buildings up to this required standard to join the voices advocating for and subsequent compliance with national legislation for the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in all spheres of life e.g. access to public buildings, education and employment. To promote the establishment of support mechanisms with focus on creating opportunities for independent living for persons with disabilities e. g. suitable housing and funding entrepreneurial activities.
- To urge theological institutions: To accelerate efforts in development and dissemination of EDAN disability curriculum widely among educational institutions to extend the disability curriculum to include theological students and lay persons in other programs of the colleges- evening programs and short term lay training programs to use their good offices to promote disability education in theological colleges in the Caribbean through connections with the Caribbean Association of Theological Colleges and other fora to join efforts among theological schools in the Caribbean to promote education on disability issues region- wide.
- To urge WCC member Churches at the national level to collaborate with other christian umbrella groups in promoting the rights and other issues related to persons with disabilities
- To urge regional governments to ensure that persons with disabilities have access to social support, health and education services and programs provided by relevant government agencies such as the ministries of health, education, labor and social security.
Rev. Dr. Gordon Cowans
P.O. Box 1735 Spalding
Tel: 987 8015
Home: 987 8080
Phone/fax: 987 8045
Email: gcowans@N5.com.jm or knoxc@N5.com.jm