The Inspiration Center, a state-of-the-art rehabilitation facility for Belize’s children with special needs, now has financing to begin construction, thanks to a timely $200,000 donation from the Embassy of the Republic of China on Taiwan. Taiwan’s Ambassador to Belize, H.E. David C.K. Wu, presented the cheque to Special Envoy for Women and Children, Mrs. Kim Simplis-Barrow on Tuesday, October 2.
The Embassy has pledged twice this amount to the project, but this first disbursement will help construction get underway at the site at Mile 1.5 on the George Price Highway in Belize City. Both Mrs. Barrow and CARE-Belize Director Evan Cowo, whose agency will manage the center, thanked Ambassador Wu for his government’s splendid support to this project and to Belize. The ROC’s pledged $400,000 and the proceeds of the Inspiration Telethon have made it possible for the project to begin immediately.
Mrs. Barrow and Mr. Cowo have signed a letter of intent awarding the construction contract for the Center to Usher Construction Company. The contractor, Robert Usher, estimates that the center can be completed in about a year at a cost of $1.8 million.
The Special Envoy’s office also thanks those who contributed to the Inspiration Center, since their support, however small, will directly enhance the life of children with disabilities in Belize.
Mrs. Barrow and her office will continue fundraising for this project. Close to $1.5 million has already been raised, but she is still about $1 million shy of the cost of building and furnishing the center. A second telethon is planned for June 1 next year, and the Special Envoy’s office will be teaming up with McNab Designs to produce a yearly agenda, the proceeds of which will go towards the Inspiration Center.
The rehabilitation center when completed is planned to do double duty as a community center with after-school programs, a computer lab, reading room, playground, daycare, and space for recreational music and arts.
Mrs Barrow was inspired to launch the project after she learned of CARE-Belize’s efforts to provide basic rehabilitation for children and adults with disabilities, but the lack of more complete rehabilitation services hinders these children’s growth and the ultimate contribution they could make to society.
Other technical partners for the project include the Ministries of Works, Health, and Human Development, as well as the National Resource Center for Inclusive Education (NaRCIE), Special Olympics, PAHO and UNICEF.