Roseanna Tudor selfless champion of the disabled

Roseanna Tudor’s life story epitomises dedication, compassion, and an unwavering commitment to the betterment of our society.

Growing up in Guyana, where she was born, before migrating to Barbados at the age of 25, Roseanna experienced many beautiful aspects of Caribbean life in many ways, and her inviting personality bears this out.

Her upbringing in an environment steeped in diverse cultures and social strata significantly influenced her remarkable character and personality.

Her love for people, and causes close to her heart, have fuelled her determination to advocate for those who cannot do so for themselves.

Being mother to a beloved daughter, Dominique, is just one of the roles she dutifully plays in life, but there is so much more to Roseanna, who is always quick to say she enjoys working behind the scenes.

Her educational and professional journey has spanned both Barbados and Guyana, but it was her role as the operations manager at the Barbados Council for the Disabled (BCD) that truly defined her life’s purpose.

Added to this is her commitment to continuous learning and improvement in her chosen field. This is evident in her varied certifications and years of experience. She has attained certification in organisational change and management, project cycle management, and, internationally, in disability etiquette and awareness, and universal design at the Centre for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access at the University at Buffalo.

“Twenty-two years ago, a profound realisation ignited within me: the power I held to transform the lives of individuals with disabilities.

“It was the moment I helped craft an environment that nurtured a young blind woman, empowering her with the support she needed to flourish.

“Witnessing her relentless determination sparked a profound revelation within me, illuminating the depth of my commitment to fostering empowerment in others. This pivotal moment ignited a renewed dedication to social development, propelling my vision for a society characterised by equity and justice.”

This profound realisation has driven Roseanna in her role as operations manager for the BCD, a position she has held for the past 20 years, and her added role as a disability consultant.

This unassuming leader has achieved much in changing lives throughout the years.

Her most significant achievement was her transformative role in conceptualising and implementing several programmes for people with disabilities whose lives have been filled with various challenges.

One such programme is the Disability Awareness Day (DAD) programme, which was developed to create change among children by involving them in implementing their disability awareness programmes within schools.

This has also been strengthened by the recently launched “My Inclusive School” project. With the help and support of the Ministry of Education, this project seeks to drive the development of an inclusive and universally accessible school system.

By promoting accessibility and inclusivity for all, Roseanna’s tireless efforts have made a lasting impact on Barbados.

Along with others, she developed and spearheaded the Fully Accessible Barbados Accreditation Programme (FAB), which has brought about significant changes beyond the built environment and has extended to other aspects of society.

“FAB has made remarkable progress in providing equal access and benefits for individuals with physical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities. These developments were the catalyst that is now materialising into national policy changes that people like Peter Serieux, Dorien Pile, Clevedon Mayers, Boneta Phillips, Maria Holder Small, the Barbados Council for the Disabled team, and others toiled relentlessly to achieve.”

Roseanna also leads the Fully Accessible Barbados Programme, designed for assessing properties for the disabled. This sees her working in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, along with other government and private sector entities. She is also involved in the Barbados Council For the Disabled disability sensibility training and Barbados National Tourism Host Programme.

Roseanna’s dedication extends beyond her workplace. She serves on the Barbados National Committee on Monitoring the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and is the deputy chair of the Garbage and Sewage Relief Board. In addition, she is an advisor to the Barbados National Standards Institution in matters related to accessible tourism and related services.

She has advised on matters related to the Barbados Physical Development Plan, and is a dedicated problem solver who supports individuals affected by disabilities, often finding solutions that relieve stressful living conditions for many families.

It is fair to say that Roseanna’s advocacy knows no boundaries. Blessed with an unselfish nature, she has represented Barbados at numerous United Nations Conferences on The Rights of Persons with Disabilities. She also played a participatory role in the development of the “Port-au-Prince Declaration” in 2013, during which time she delivered a presentation on “Accessibility and the Built Environment” at the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) high-level ministerial meeting on disabilities in Haiti.

Roseanna has also taken Barbados to the international stage, promoting, Fully Accessible Barbados (FAB) at the first and second Destinations for All Conference in Montreal and Brussels, and she has mounted a Fully Accessible Barbados Booth with the support of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. at Canada’s largest Disability Exhibition, People In Motion.

Her passion for accessible tourism and her efforts to promote inclusivity in tourism was highlighted when
she was invited to speak at the Bahamas’ United Nations Tourism (also known as the UNWTO) celebration of World Tourism Day. Her presentation emphasised the significant economic and societal opportunities that accessibility can create.

On the role of women with disabilities, Roseanna delved beyond borders as she partnered with her late colleague Rose Ann Foster Vaughan to heighten the awareness of challenges faced by women with disabilities. Working with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the two established Rose Ann as the poster girl for sexual reproductive health issues.

“This successfully demonstrated to many of our partners the vulnerability of women with disabilities and the environment that excluded this group. Today, inclusion is occurring, though not at a pace where it should be.”

Roseanna’s journey is one of unwavering dedication to improving the lives of persons with disabilities and championing accessibility and inclusivity in our nation. Her commitment to her family, advocacy for animal rights, and deep love for Barbados makes her a true inspiration.

She is keenly aware that by working in her chosen field she either had to “go big or go home”, hence she continues to be guided by the timeless words of Nelson Mandela: “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” (CH)

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