By Olajire Ishola
Businessman/philantropist, Dr. Kelly Nwogu recently added a new dimension to the work of philanthropy, when he assembled disabled people at one of his houses in Ajah, Lagos State, to distribute various working tools to them in an attempt to make them independent of begging on the street. He tagged the gesture: “Fulfilling promises to the disabled.”
Early in the morning on that Saturday, different people with different disabilities were trooping in hundreds to Nwogu’s house situated at Golden Pearls Estate by Happyland Bus stop in Ajah, in honour of his invitation.
As early as 9:00 am, the venue had been filled to capacity. The event was heralded with music from disabled musicians. One interesting thing about them is that although all of them are blind, they played different musical instruments with much ease. This reporter was amazed at the dexterity with which they played drum-set flawlessly. At a point, the man playing drum-set switched from it to keyboard and later to singing.
While speaking, Nwogu noted that what motivated him to embark on this philanthropy is the fact that his own mother too is a disabled woman confined to a wheelchair right from the birth. He said that notwithstanding her situation, his mother struggled to send him to school up to higher education level. Since then, he had vowed to change the lives of disabled people in Nigeria. His words: “As the voice of the disabled in Nigeria, I am determined to make sure everyone living with disability in Nigeria gets the opportunity to fulfil his/her dreams.”
He said that out of the over 170 million people in Nigeria, 23 million are disabled and that he would try all his effort to ease their problem through empowerment. He then called on United Nations and other agencies in the world to support the cause to make the disabled people breadwinners of their various families. He said if they were able to feed their families through sustainable job, it would reduce the menace of area boys in Nigeria.
Those among them who showed significant interest in fashion designing were given sowing machine with N100, 000 each to get shop. He also assigned experts to give them more training, so as to make them abreast of modern fashion designing. He said that his team would always visit them to monitor their progress. Those that signified interest in barbing job were given barbing instruments with money to get shops and equip the place.
In the case of Paralympic players, he gave them wheelchair each and promised to sponsor them to foreign countries for exposure. Those that have other jobs were given tools that suit their works and N100, 000 each to get shops, with a promise to inspect them regularly so as to make other inputs into their business growth.
In the case of the agric business, he promised to procure 10 acres of land at Ikorodu for those that signified interest in farming and agro-business. He also promised to rally support both within and outside the country to raise over N100 billion for the project.
One of the beneficiaries of the empowerment, Gloria, who is also married to a fellow disabled person, while thanking the man said she never believed fortune could quickly smiled on her, as the month of January marked sixth month she started learning fashion design. She thanked the man while pleading with him to do to others as he had done to her. She called on other public-spirited Nigerians to identify with the disabled people just like Dr. Nwogu is doing.