The Precious Fountain Foundation (PFF), an NGO dedicated to meeting the needs of disadvantaged people through educational and humanitarian interventions, has charged families to show support and be empathetic towards their relatives with disabilities as a way to counter discrimination on all front.
The group made the call during an educational outreach to the Special School for the Blind, Afaraukwu, Umuahia in Abia State, under its ‘Project Mindshift’ with the theme “Can a Non-sighted person change the world?”
While addressing students and teachers in the special school, Founder of PFF, Mr Paschal Onyeocha, who is also visually impaired, said Project Mindshift was necessitated to address the severe challenges encountered by visually impaired persons in Nigeria.
Onyeocha said “Our society is toxic to persons with disabilities. Visually impaired persons are treated as if they cannot excel in anything, their rights are trampled on, and their voices silenced.
“Sadly, this inhumane and uncivilized attitude toward visually impaired persons lowers their self-esteem and challenges their resolve to attain their goals in life. PFF is tackling this need head-on through this Mindshift Project.”
He explained that the project was designed to “prepare visually impaired persons for the larger society dominated by sighted people and to birth positive change in the manner visually impaired persons are treated in the country.”
Dr Joan Anokwuru, Inclusive Education specialist, said “there is the need to include persons with visual disability in local policies and national policies and programming.”
He also stressed that family members need to change their attitude towards their relatives who are blind.
One of the students expressed his deep frustration with the attitudes of his immediate family members towards him and demonstrated how embittered he was because of the unsupportive and discriminatory attitude of his relatives.
Yinmi Gabriel Oladeji, Project Facilitator and Volunteer at PFF also noted that the project will be implemented in other parts of the country.
He thereafter called for support from members of the public to enable the organization to implement the project effectively.