By Khoze Clement
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Vocational and Rehabilitation Centre has empowered persons with disabilities at its 7th graduation ceremony.
The 35 beneficiaries were trained on mental fabrication, fashion design, electronics, welding, leatherworks and among others.
Each of the beneficiaries received certificates and starter packs to enable them become self reliant. FCT Officials said the equipment and starter packs capital distributed to the 35 beneficiaries is valued at over N4million.
The centre located at Bwari is mandated to provide persons with disabilities with minimal level of well being and social support in the areas of education, health, entrepreneurial and skill acquisition has over the years recorded series of success stories as well as challenges.
Speaking at the event the Hon. Minister of State FCT, Dr. Ramatu Tijani Aliyu, represented by the Special Adviser on Social Development Secretariat Hon. Simisola Ayoade noted that the Minister is an enthusiast of sustainable development goals SGDs agenda of the United Nations and she is passionate to break the link between disability and poverty.
“The FCT is committed to effective service delivery, by providing the necessary critical support required by persons with disabilities to look right through their challenges and put up equal amount of effort with their able bodies peers at work”. She said.
She added that women, children or older persons with disabilities are in an extremely vulnerable position which most times exclude them from education, employment and many other opportunities for a better livelihood therefore the need to take action in advancing the inclusion of persons with disabilities as enshrined in the SDGs goals aimed at improving their well being with the ability of opening up communication, independence and improved quality of livelihood for persons with disabilities.
“The FCT administration is taking additional steps to reinforce the battle against the phenomenon of discrimination which constitutes one of the main challenges that people with disabilities face at every level of society”. The Minister added.
Hon. Simisola urged beneficiaries to make proper and commercial use of these items, as the administration broaden further and make better the scope of its commitment of providing entrepreneurial and skill acquisition with profitable and commercial value to persons with disabilities.
One of the beneficiaries, a physically challenged person, Chinonso Usulor noted that, “before now I had no skills neither the hope of acquiring one, so when I heard about the centre I decided to utilize the opportunity to go out and make something out for myself”.
Trained as a fashion designer, Usulor stated that “I will ensure that some persons are taken off the street and also assist my family”.
Also, Abayor Bomshima, a former drug addict who was rehabilitated at the centre and trained in mental fabrication, noted that “the rehab programme has completely made me a better person and I now realized that there is more to life than indulging in drugs and other social vices and I promise to work hard with my new skills”.
Also represented at the event is the Acting Secretary, FCT Social Development Secretariat Mrs. Dili Onyedinma, by the Director of Administration SDS, Barrister Moses Ekuma who made a clarion call to citizens, private and public establishments to take all necessary measures to ensure that they give strong emphasis to the principles of equality of opportunity for persons with disabilities as well as the NGO’s to partner with the centre for purpose of increased synergies and grants in executing its mandate.
“The graduating students should reciprocate government gesture by impacting others with these skills and staying off the streets in compliance with the administration’s zero tolerance for begging and destitution”.
The Director Social Welfare, FCT Social Development Secretariat Dr. Felicia Nwogu noted that a good percentage of the students are making huge progress though the centre have its challenges “it’s been five years since the last graduation due to some challenges among which is administrative issues”, she appealed to other organizations to support the centre with starter packs to empower more students.