December 8, 2014: A world-renowned human rights lawyer and expert on disability rights recently undertook an official visit to Trinidad in honor of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. In a program sponsored by the National Center for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) and the U.S. Embassy, Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo, coordinator for Disability and Inclusive Development for the United States Agency for International Development, visited Trinidad December 3-6.
During her time in Trinidad, Mrs. McClain-Nhlapo visited several local institutions serving people with disabilities, including the Princess Elizabeth Centre, the Immortelle Children’s Centre for Special Education, and the Cheshire Home in San Fernando. She addressed a roundtable of 35 stakeholders in the disabilities sector. And she spoke at the NCPD’s 50th Anniversary Gala in San Fernando, attended by His Excellency President Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona, who is the official patron of the NCPD.
“We very much appreciated having Charlotte here,” said NCPD CEO Beverly Beckles. “The entire disabilities community benefited from her visit, as she got to meet with all the stakeholders, sharing her experience and expertise as we seek to build a society for all.”
“I have met some exceptionally committed professionals and activists working to realize the rights of persons with disabilities,” Mrs. McClain-Nhlapo said of her visit to Trinidad. In her remarks at the NCPD gala, she pointed out that over 1 billion people live with some form of disability. She called making our societies more inclusive “the defining challenge of our era.” And she noted that President Carmona’s support of the NCPD was an example of the government’s leadership and commitment to this issue.
Mrs. McClain-Nhlapo has a wide range of experience working for human rights, disability rights, and the rights of children in national and international organizations. Prior to her appointment at USAID, Mrs. McClain-Nhlapo was Senior Operations Specialist at the World Bank. She also served on the South African Human Rights Commission, on appointment by President Nelson Mandela.