A disability-focused organisation, the Onaopemipo Centre for Children and Youths with Special Needs has called on government at all levels never to relent in addressing the numerous challenges that children and youth with disabilities encounter on a regular basis.
The founder of the centre, Pastor Olumide Ojo, made the call during the second annual programme of the organisation to celebrate persons with disabilities, tagged ‘Let’s Make them Happy’.
Pst Ojo, who said the centre was established in 2018 to actively raise the quality of life of children and youths with disability for them to achieve their full potentials, explained that the centre has the mission to provide practical step by step assistance to children and youths with a disability to live a fulfilled life.
He further said that disability had become a social stigma in our society, often leading to discrimination and isolation of victims.
“Social discrimination combined with poor health conditions plays havoc with their lives, especially children with intellectual disabilities,” he added.
Ojo stressed further that parents of children with disabilities also face financial and psycho-social hardship; they tend to be unseen, unheard, uncounted and un-represented.
He, therefore, urged the government, philanthropists, civil society organisations, NGOs and all well-meaning Nigerians to support the cause of children with disability and their parents.
Ojo noted that “we all rise by lifting others; it is not about how much we have but having the mind to help when, how and where we can! Together, we can make the world a better place.”
One of the guest speakers at the event, Professor Rotimi Sanya, former Provost, College of Medicine, Afe Babalola University, spoke extensively on the causes, prevention and maintenance of disability, explaining that there are primary, secondary and other causes of disability.
Prof Sanya further said that apart from genetic reasons, the major problem in children occur in the labour room, “Most children pass through a lot of trauma during labour, although God gave children the ability to overcome trauma more than the adults, once the trauma they pass through is too much (during delivery), it takes the Grace of God for such child not to be disabled.”
He, therefore, urged pregnant women to always take caution during pregnancy about what they eat, their hygiene and the type of medical attention they seek. The medical personnel should also be professional during delivery.
He further stated that the government and stakeholders need to provide good health care facilities to attend to pregnant women and children.
Early intervention for children with a disability goes a long way in reducing their disability and becoming beneficial for themselves and society at large.
Another guest speaker at the event, Mr Funso Olajide, the Executive Director of Disability Not A Barrier Initiative (DINABI), encouraged the audience always to show empathy to people with disabilities and not sympathy.
Speaking further, he charged parents to always show love to both their children with/without disabilities equally.
He urged people always to respect the opinion of people with disability, show them understanding and always give them positive attitudes.
Other dignitaries at the occasion are Dr. (Mrs.) Owoola, (Commissioner III at Ekiti State Teaching Service Commission), Hon. Obanise (Board Chairman Ekiti State Disability Commission), Manager Moremi Clinic, Ado Ekiti and Executive Director of GRIP, Barr. Rita Ilevbare, Mr Rotimi Bejide (A radio presenter on Disability at the Broadcasting Service of Ekiti State).