The Festus Fajemilo Foundation (FFF), a disability-focused organization has trained Guidance Counsellors in Agege Education District, Lagos State, on ‘Breaking all Barriers’ with the aim of equipping them with the relevant skills to ensure barriers that children with disabilities (CWDs) experience in the school environment are addressed.
Held at the Government Senior College, Agege, the one-day training captured different forms of barriers that CWDs encounter in society and how the counsellors can play their roles to address the various forms of discrimination and exclusion that CWDs encounter.
Specifically, the training hampers on awareness and sensitization of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) of young people with disabilities and challenges they face in accessing the rights.
Mr Afolabi Fajemilo, the Executive Director of FFF, during his opening remarks, explained that the training was organized to familiarize the guidance counsellors with the handbook so that they know how to relate effectively with CWDs in their schools.
Fajemilo shared the appropriate terminologies that the guidance counsellors should use to address CWDs to avoid discrimination and stigmatization through the choice of words.
On her part, Tobiloba Ajayi, one of the BAB brand ambassadors who represented Centre for Youth Studies at the event, charged the guidance counsellors to begin to see CWDs from a better and positive perspective such that the CWDs are able to live their potential
Ajayi stressed that disabilities are pronounced because of the barriers that exist in society and she charged the counsellors not to reinforce the barriers that CWDs experience
One of the facilitators at the training, Ms Blessing Oladunjoye, Publisher, BONews Service spoke about the sexual and reproductive health rights of CWDs, adding that counsellors needed to provide necessary counsel to support CWDs instead of seeing them as ‘objects‘ that should be asexual.
Dr Dada Shonibare a retired Director of the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council also took the counsellors through different strategies that would enable them to communicate effectively with CWDs.
The Tutor-General, Barr. (Mrs.) M.T. Sholarin who was represented by the District’s Head of Counselling, Dr. Olubukola Rosanwo commended FFF for the initiative and urged the counsellors to consider the training as reorientation and an opportunity to learn to interact with CWDs and not to see their disabilities.
Other BAB brand ambassadors who shared their experiences at the training were; Barr Daniel Onwe and Ms Funke Ogunrombi. The training was well attended by more than 100 Guidance Counsellors and officials of Agege Education District.
The Breaking all Barriers (BAB) project was first implemented in 2017 with funding support by Voice (Oxfam/Hivos) in 17 private secondary schools in Agege Education District and is being replicated in the 99 public secondary schools in the same district with funding support by Liliane Foundation, Netherlands and supported by The Leprosy Mission Nigeria.