At 10 years of age, Chikamso Emmanuel can barely sits on his own, talk less of walking, due to a disability he suffered on both legs and one of his hands.
The handsome young boy who admires his age mates, wouldn’t accept to stay back at home as his siblings and other children go to school hence, he was registered in school too, his mother, who said it’s difficult carrying him around, said.
His disability came as a result of prolonged labour during his birth according to the doctor, Chikamso’s mother, said.
He was one of the 15 beneficiaries of the distribution of Aids, Appliances and Empowerment Tools to Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development (FMWASD) on Wednesday in Abuja.
“I carry him to school on motorbike every day and after closing, I pick him up the same way. We live in Kurudu, Abuja and the school is quiet a distance from our house,” she said.
She said the wheelchair given to Chikamso is a big relief because it had not been easy moving him around from one place to the other, adding that they have been trying to raise money to purchase one for him but that had been difficult.
“They have just relieved me of the pain because anytime I carried him round I have body ache. As I am now, my back aches. I appreciate the government for remembering us,” the mother said.
The Permanent Secretary, FMWASD, Mrs Ifeoma Anagbogu, while distributing the Aids, Appliances and Empowerment Tools to the PWDs, said it was an indication of the Federal Government’s commitment to their economic wellbeing.
The perm-sec who said there is ability in disability noted that PWDs face lots of challenges which include, but not limited to stigmatization, limited funding for disability programmes, non-accessibility to public buildings, lack of social security, discrimination in employment and use of public transportation, adding that women and young PWDs suffer more gender-based violence as well as having less access to sexual and reproductive health services.
“It is therefore important for us as partners to work together in ensuring promotion of the right of PWDs, and this can only be achieved when we understand ways in which disability stigma manifests, to be able to engage them positively.
It is also worth noting, the effort of the ministry and other stakeholders in ensuring the passing into law of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2019 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Ministry through the Rehabilitation Department partnered with Ishk Limb Centre, Lagos to provide prosthetic limbs to over 173 physically challenged men and women of Niger State and the programme is on-going.
Mrs Anagbogu said, the annual programme is part of the Ministry’s efforts at eradicating poverty among PWDs adding that PWDs are supported with various forms of assistive devices and economic empowerment materials such as wheelchairs, tricycles, Braille machines, Guide canes, crutches, grinding machines, hair-dryers, barbing clippers, sewing machines, vulcanizing machines so as to better their lives,” she also stated.
She urged the beneficiaries to make effective and judicious use of the materials, to justify the huge government resources invested, adding that they should also note that officers of the ministry would, from time to time, visit them to assess the impact of the empowerment on their lives.