Our History and Work
The National Centre for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) is a non-governmental agency (NGO) which promotes the full participation of persons with disabilities in society. NCPD is a leading agency in the Caribbean promoting equalisation of opportunities for persons with disabilities through training, information, research and consultative services. The Centre provides persons with disabilities with quality training and rehabilitative services that enhance their quality of life and promote their integration into the wider community.
Once known as the San Fernando Rehabilitation Centre, NCPD was established on December 5, 1964 as a branch of the Trinidad and Tobago Society for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled. Its inaugural seven trainees were taught to repair soft drink cases. The organisation was fortunate to access the financial and material support of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, additional support from corporate and individual donors, technical assistance from the International Labour Organisation and the expertise of a growing pool of paid staff and volunteers.
Through the prudent management of these resources, it expanded its programs and service offerings, developed a portfolio of entrepreneurial activities centred on the skills base of the trainees and expanded its role in local, regional and international advocacy for the equalisation of opportunities, rights and freedoms of persons with disabilities. In 1994, a name change to the National Centre for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) was registered to convey the national focus of the organisation as well as its target population. NCPD has been honoured to have a distinguished line of Patrons including Heads of State. Our current Patron is His Excellency, Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona, O.R.T.T., S.C., President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
NCPD is governed by a voluntary Board of Directors which is involved in policy formation and fundraising. The institution operates under the direction of a Chief Executive Officer supported by a staff of professionals and a cadre of volunteers. The Centre’s main source of revenue is the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago from which it receives an annual subvention. Other funds are sourced from income generating activities, fundraising activities, corporate sponsorships and private donations.
In 2015 there were 250 trainees and apprentices engaged in certifiable skill development in the field of Agriculture/Horticulture, Beauty Culture, Food Preparation, Garment Construction, Information Technology, Office Administration, Welding, Book Binding and Woodwork. Graduates are certified by the National Examinations Council of the Ministry of Education and this demonstrates competence in various fields at National Occupational Standards. Trainees also Participate in Remedial Education, Life Skills Training, Computer Literacy Training, Entrepreneurial Skills Training, Music, Art, Craft and Sports.
NCPD has developed a business portfolio, marketing high quality products and services in the fields in which it offers training. This creates opportunities for trainees to gain on-the-job experience which enhances their competitiveness in the job market. NCPD graduates are therefore both qualified and experienced in their skill areas. The Centre also assists graduates in securing employment opportunities.
The Centre provides consultative services to public, corporate and civil society organisations seeking to develop their service offerings, policies and programmes for persons with disabilities. Dr Beverly Beckles, Chief Executive Officer of NCPD, is one of the leading advocates in the region for the rights, freedoms, dignity and equal participation of persons with disabilities. Under her leadership, NCPD has been engaged in a number of initiatives at the local, regional and international levels to promote equal opportunities for persons with disabilities, particularly in the areas of education, training and employment. The Centre’s work in advocacy was instrumental in influencing the development of national policies on disability, in seven countries in the English-speaking Caribbean.
In its advocacy NCPD is primarily guided by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as well as other global and regional protocols on disability and the National Policy on Persons with Disabilities - itself an outcome of the Centre’s work in advocacy in the region. NCPD’s core values include the highest regard for human dignity and continuous improvement towards the vision of a society of absolute inclusion.
In 2013 NCPD was accredited by the United Nations Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It was also registered as a Civil Society of the Organisation of American States that same year.