Janice Massiah, who is bound to a wheelchair, is extremely happy with her new bathroom which is fully adapted to her situation. “This is my palace. I feel so good,” she said during the visit of Commissioner Rolando Wilson, Head of the Planning Bureau Boddy Zagers, and Eviton Heyliger of the Own Your Own Home Foundation (OYOHF) on Friday, January 29.
Janice, a nurse by profession, had no suitable bathroom in her house in St. John’s. Her urgent situation made her a good candidate for the pilot project funded by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (SZW) and Public Health, Wellbeing and Sport (VWS) as part of the larger endeavor to implement the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on Saba. The OYOHF contributed to the pilot project, while the Planning Bureau supervised the project.
To construct the new bathroom, Janice’s husband, Glenroy Massiah who won the contract, added a piece to the house and constructed a cesspit. “It is specialist work. You need to know exactly what the person needs,” said Glenroy, who did a lot of research before starting construction so Janice would have a perfect bathroom that fully suits her needs.
The bathroom needed to be accessible with a full turning radius of Janice’s wheelchair, have a wheelchair accessible shower with a special seat, and a senior toilet with adjustable handles on the wall. Janice said she was “very, very, very happy” with her new bathroom. “I feel more comfortable, more at ease.”
Commissioner Wilson explained that Janice was the first person to be assisted as part of the pilot project. “The pilot project went very well, and I have to say that the result is beautiful. I am very happy for her. This makes things much more comfortable for her,” he said.
More persons with challenges, mostly seniors, will be assisted with adaptation to their home in the near future. Some 20 more persons asked for assistance. With the available funding, the Public Entity Saba will continue to assist persons that require adaptations to their home.
Janice said she hoped that more people can be assisted. “It is badly needed for other people too. Many persons with challenges out there need it.” She said that in general, it would be good to have more wheelchair-accessible buildings on Saba which would make it easier for her to go grocery shopping or visit a restaurant.