The Care Micronesia Foundation NGO Center celebrates access for all

careOn December 7th at the Care Micronesia Foundation NGO center located at the Catholic Mission in Kolonia in the old MicSem building, a small ceremony was held to officially open the new access ramp to the building. This event helped to commerate the FSM Congress’ ratification of the Convention for the Rights of Person’s with Disability. The convention, which focuses on leaving no one behind, shows FSM’s commitment to making sure there is equal access for all to public facilities, businesses, and government buildings. This ramp, which was built with the assistance of a USDA-RD Community Facilities grant, allows wheelchair access to the first level of the building. Mr. Stuard Penias, Treasurer of the Board of the Care Micronesia Foundation (CMF), was present for the ceremony and spoke on behalf of the Board. Mr. Penias is also the FSM’s Disability Focal Point for the FSM Department of Health and Social Affiars. Also present were Mr. Nelbert Perez, Northern Pacific Program Officer for the Pacific Disability Forum, Mr. Henry Phillip, Director of the Pohnpei Consumer Organization, Mr. Patrick Blank, Executive Director of CMF, Pohnpei State Senator Francisco Ioanis, Senator Lino Amor, Mr. Elieser Rospel of Micronesian Productions, and special guest, Mr. Linther Kihleng, who was the first person in a wheelchair to visit the building.
The building currently holds the offices of the Micronesian Conservation Trust (MCT), the Pohnpei Chamber of Commerce, the Care Micronesia Foundation, and Micronesian Productions. It serves as an NGO center and has a conference room, equipped from an Australian DAP grant, which allows NGOs to hold meetings at little to no cost. The addition of the access ramp now allows people in wheelchairs to visit the building and attend meetings. It is one way in which NGOs and the private sector can make sure that their facilities are accessible to everyone and will be followed by other improvements to the building. The Care Micronesia Foundation encourages all NGOs, government offices, and the private sector to see how they can improve their facilities to make sure and leave no one behind and help improve the lives for everyone in the FSM.