Hopes of living a decent life was recently restored to over 100 physically challenged persons by a non-governmental organisation, the Daddy’s Foundation based in Kubwa, Abuja. The organisation in conjunction with the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Abuja branch, recently assembled about 150 persons with varying physical challenges and lectured them on how to bloom rather than gloom in their state.
From one speaker to the other, they were reminded that ability exists in every disability, if only the sufferer thinks like a hero and not a villain. They were assembled from different villages in Kubwa and Bwari and bunched in groups to make benefiting from the NGO’s services much easier for them.
Through an interpreter, they were able to lay bare the stress and the difficulties they go through as they move around to eke out a living and provide for their dependants on a daily basis. Mr Folarin Aluko, chairman, Abuja branch of the NBA assured them of support and urged them not to see themselves as outcasts, but a very integral part of the society. He charged them not to hide their talents but develop and flaunt them, in spite of the challenges they might be facing physically.
Founder of Daddy’s Foundation, Mr Charles Okenwa, said: “What we are trying to do is to give these physically challenged persons succour, with active support of the NBA Abuja branch. We are giving them hope, people who are physically challenged. We are giving them a sense of belonging that they are part of the society without any discrimination.
“Everyday, we go about our normal businesses, we go to our office, shops, market place, farms and make money everyday. We then retire to enjoy life, but the reality is that this is not what life is all about. We are of the view that the most enjoyed life is what impact we make to improve the life of others, particularly, the less endowed, the disabled and the less privileged.
“How do you impact the life of fellow human beings, particularly, the physically challenged? The day you start to impact the life of others is the day you start a living, not when you spend your earnings for yourself alone.” He said the event offered him a golden opportunity to have a face-to-face interaction with the beneficiaries of legal and social services for the first time:
“I have been talking to them, they have an organisation. I have been talking to their leaders they have a chairman. We have been stepping into matters that affect them, the people who are awaiting trial, we see how we can take up their matter pro bono, how we can be of assistance and let them have hope that someone somewhere has their interest.
“We let them know that as long as somebody wants to cheat anyone or take undue advantage of their situation, there is a helper somewhere to fight their cause and ensure they are fairly treated.
“Do you know that I have no barrier in communicating with them even though they are mostly from a section of the country different from mine, and they are mostly illiterate or semi-illiterate. I have an interpreter, but surprisingly, some of them speak pidgin, so communication is not a hindrance.”
In their various state of physical challenges they expressed joy after they were lectured on succeeding against all odds. Top on their joy list was the assurance from the NGO that they could revert to them whenever any attempt is made to exploit them.
Hassan Abdulahi said: “We are more than 150 registered in this Bwari branch. I am from Gwagwalada, but I came to represent the chairman. The truth is that we have challenges, but these people have come to bail us out.
“We have challenges of discrimination even to enter vehicles. People look down on us, they don’t think about us when there is commotion and chaos. But these people have come to give us hope and promised to fight for us. Because of this, we are grateful to them.”
The 35-year-old father of five children said he learnt tailoring and now a full-fledged fashion designer from where he feeds his family. He wants rich Nigerians to emulate Daddy’s Foundation to help the needy and the poor in the society to be useful and to have a sense of belonging.