Just like American politician, Sharron Angle, had rightly said, ‘There is a plan and a purpose, a value to every life, no matter what its location, age, gender or disability’.
Just like American politician, Sharron Angle, had rightly said, ‘There is a plan and a purpose, a value to every life, no matter what its location, age, gender or disability’. That plan, that purpose, that value and more are what UK-based Focus on Disability Foundation, an NGO, has been all out to do, empowering lives and making life meaningful to people living with disability in Nigeria and around Africa in general. Owned by gregarious and large-hearted London-based dude, Abiodun Paseda, who has taken it upon himself, through his Foundation, to periodically provide disability aids and school materials, improve facilities for school children, by working together with various partner schools, and help children with disabilities to access education. The organization has also been providing training in business skills for people with disabilities, so that they can generate sustainable income to be able to take care of their families and educate their children.Recently,he gave cash donations and trade equipment worth millions of Naira to Nigerians with disabilities at its 2017 Empowerment Conference, themed, “From Exclusion to Empowerment: Empowering Adults with Disabilities to be Self Reliant.”
Speaking at the event held at the Cranfield Bizhub 7 Hall in Surulere, Lagos, the elated Grand Patron of the Association of People Living with Disability, Oyo State Chapter, Engr. Prof. Shafaudeen Olagoke, sued for a more strategic approach by each vested interest in ensuring that all the barriers leading to the exclusion of people living with disabilities, in the society are removed. “Government must avoid using this group for political gains. PLWD advocacy groups should advocate for the incorporation of community features, such as proper curb cuts on sidewalks, ramps for wheelchair access, and well-maintained trails to improve safe access to public places for physical activity,” Dr. Toyin Janet Aderemi, Consultant and Public Health Researcher and Nigeria Country Representative for CBM,called on the Nigerian government to incorporate the United Nations’ concept of “reasonable accommodation” into its laws, so as to remove all barriers militating against the inclusion of PLWDs in the society. Dr Adeyemi,who is also living with disability,asserted that disability inclusion is everybody’s business, she implored employers, who don’t engage PLWDs, to remove such barriers, noting that PLWDs, when empowered and employed, will contribute meaningfully to the success of their employers, families and communities. Revealing how, in spite of being in a wheelchair and against all odds, she graduated top of her Pharmacy class at the University of Ibadan., “There is no limitation except the one you place on yourself.” Founder/CEO of BENOLA, a Cerebral Palsy initiative, Air Vice Marshal Femi Gbadebo (Rtd), charged PLWDs to move from a point of pity to respect by developing themselves intellectually and building their capacity to become productive members of society. At the event, equipment such as sewing machines, washing machines, weaving machines, grinding machines, deep freezers, hair clippers, laptops, generators and much more were distributed to several beneficiaries living with disabilities to start their own businesses. Others also received cash donations of varying sums to scale their start-ups. Founder of the Focus on Disability Foundation, and convener of the event, Mr. Abiodun Enilari Paseda, said “This is a demonstration of our unrelenting commitment to empowering and making life meaningful for people with disability. Through our Nigerian arm, collaborating with partner organisations in Nigeria and abroad, we have been working to achieve equal rights for the country’s PLWDs. We provide them with assistive devices and regularly organise skill acquisition programmes for them so that they can be able to generate sustainable income to take care of their families and educate their children. We also help children with disabilities to access education.” Mr. Paseda also lauded, the foundation’s Grand Patron, Revd (Mrs.) Esther Abimbola Ajayi, Founder of the Love of Christ Generation Church of the Cherubim and Seraphim Commission, United Kingdom. “We are grateful for the incredible magnanimity of our Grand Patron, Revd Esther Ajayi, who has been a tremendous pillar of financial support in our quest to ensure that Nigeria’s PLWDs lead more meaningful and impactful lives. She’s fully responsible for all the cash donations and equipment that we are giving out today. We hope that other influential Nigerians home and abroad will take a cue from her altruistic disposition and channel their resources in the direction of worthy causes such as this’.