The Irede Foundation has unveiled a comic book that promotes the idea of disability-inclusion among children.
Speaking at the official unveiling of the book titled “Iredians” Mrs Crystal Chigbu. Executive Director, Irede Foundation, said that the unveiling of the Iredians was a dream come true.
“Today is a dream come true, we are one step closer to building a more inclusive society,” Chigbu said.
She noted that books, music and arts were important tools that help children and people make sense of the world around them and to provide a lens through which they see the world.
“Therefore, it is important that children learn early the idea of inclusion, this is something that has been missing from the childhood of many children. Children grow up reading books, watching shows that do not take into consideration children living with disabilities, when these children grow and meet other children living with disabilities in real life, they often do not know what to do.
“This knowledge gap can lead to lack of respect for other people who are different, bullying and lack of understanding of the needs and rights of other people,. Chigbu said.
Speaking further, Chigbu said that in creating the Iredians, the Foundation- wanted to change this narrative, “we wanted to include children with disabilities in books starting with this comic so that other children can see, hear, and learn from them.
According to her, the Iredian Comic is part of the foundation’s efforts to build a society with mutual respect no matter our differences, a society where all voices are heard, and people are rightly represented.
“We want children to understand how to act when they see other children with disabilities, to accord them equal respect given to any other person and extending a hand of empathy.
“This world we believe is possible but it starts with efforts like the Iredians, as we share, read to children and get this comic into hands of children, we would be changing the world.
“Our legends of hope, Irede, Ihunanya, Alheri, Ireti, and Bege is a representation of all us but not just our weakness but our ability to rise above all that life has thrown at us to become our own heroes, living limitlessly in every area of our lives,” Chigbu said.
Chigbu disclosed that, “our hope is to make animations, films, music, etc. where children with disabilities are represented, but first we want to get this comic to the hands of 10,000 children before the end of December 2021,
“For every copy of the Iredians in the hand of a child, it is a tool that can truly change his/her life and the lives of others.
Mrs. Adenike Lawal, Senior Special Assistance to the Governor of Lagos State on disability affairs thanked the foundation for the landmark achievement.
Lawal said that adults lacked words to explain disability to children and the comic will fill the missing link.
Mr. Godwin Harison of Nivea, Managing Director, Beiersdorf Nivea, said that Irede Foundation had a track record of impacting on children with disabilities.
He thanked the foundation for the great work they were doing.