Years of planning and hard work became a reality today as The Inspiration Center was launched at a ceremony on its grounds. Special Envoy for Women and Children and Chairperson of The Inspiration Center Board of Directors, Mrs. Kim Simplis-Barrow, delivered an emotional speech recounting the journey leading up to today’s event and thanking all those who contributed to its success. “I am eternally grateful that there have been so many supporters who recognize the significance of providing optimal health care, recreational outlets and other opportunities for development for this vulnerable population,” said Mrs. Simplis-Barrow.
Mrs. Simplis-Barrow presented plaques to the Government of Belize and the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in recognition of their generous support. Accepting on the behalf of the Ministry of Works, Foreign Affairs, Health and Human Development, was Prime Minister Dean Barrow. Ambassador David Wu accepted the plaque on behalf of his government for being the single largest donor to the Inspiration Center with a contribution of $400,000, 7 computers, and 2 wheelchair accessible vehicles.
A donor monument, in honor of sponsors who donated over $25,000 was also unveiled at the ceremony. First and foremost on the wall is the People of Belize for their overwhelming support of the two Inspiration Telethons. In another show of appreciation, certificates were presented to donors who contributed over $10,000.
The ceremony also featured remarks from CEO in the Ministry of Human Development, Judith Alpuche and CEO in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Peter Allen and Ms. Anita Zetina. The guest speaker was Dr. Einstein Bodden, who recently graduated from the University of the West Indies at St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. Dr. Bodden, who has been wheelchair bound since he was a toddler is a great example of what happens when we focus on the abilities of children rather than their disabilities. In her welcome remarks, Executive Director Kendra Griffith noted that “[The] center is more than a building; it is a testament of what can be achieved when we put differences aside and work together for a common good! It designates progress in bringing the needs and rights of persons with disabilities into the limelight. And it represents hope for the future… and an inclusive society.” After a blessing of the building by Reverend David Goff, the symbolic ribbon cutting to officially launch the center was done by Mrs. Simplis-Barrow, Ambassador Wu and Inspiration Center client Fatima Arceo. Guests were then invited for a tour of the facility they helped to create.
The Inspiration Center will open to the public on April 14th, 2014. It will provide basic medical care, physical therapy, hydrotherapy, speech and occupational therapy to children from birth to sixteen years of age. The facility continues to provide community-based rehabilitation services via its rehabilitation field officers in the Orange Walk, Cayo, Belize, and Toledo districts. That service was first started by CARE-Belize, which has since been absorbed by the center. The center plans to eventually provide additional services such as a day-care center for children with disabilities and an after-school program as funding becomes available.
The Inspiration Center is a registered NGO and non-profit organization governed by a board of directors comprising Mrs. Kim Simplis-Barrow as Chair, Mrs. Carla Hart as Deputy Chair and directors: Dr. Cecilio Eck, Mr. Pat Andrews, Ms. Patty Arceo, Mr. Estevan Perera, and Ms. Lillani Alvarez.