By Henry Uche
The Irede Foundation has advocated an inclusive society in which all voices are heard and considered, particularly where children living with disabilities live an independent and limitless life regardless of their unique nature.
In order to see such a society, the foundation in its debut comic book, The Iredians, starring children with disabilities, launched in Lagos, maintained that books, music and arts are important tools that hel children and people make sense of the world around them, which shapes their worldviews and provide a lens through which they see the world.
According to its executive director, Crystal Chigbu, children need to understand how to act when they see other children with disabilities, accord them equal respect given to any other person and extending a hand of empathy.
“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.
“With the Iredians, we 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. Different is unique, that is what children and people with disabilities are. With our creative work, children can recognize the uniqueness of their disabilities through art.”
She implored everyone to love children with special needs and help their uniqueness for such persons to fulfill destiny, adding that, “For every comic book in the hands of a child, it contributes to the independence of a child living with disability and the advancement of an inclusive society. Disabilities are not inabilities. With our help for one another, we can rise above all that life has thrown at us to become our own heroes, living limitlessly in every area of our lives,” she said.