David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Inmates of the Rehabilitation Centre for Disables, Old and Tramps (RECDOT), Ozubulu, Anambra State and the caregivers marked their maiden edition of the United Nations’ World Disabled Day in grand style.
The programme of activities that day included lectures on health, free medical services and was climaxed with Christmas party.
RECDOT located at Ozubulu is adjudged one of the biggest rehabilitation centres, east of the Niger with the capacity to host hundreds of people with disabilities from across Nigeria, despite the challenges inherent in such homes.
Coordinator of the home, Mrs Rosemary Odunukwe at the occasion, said those who felt privileged because they were not physically challenged should not have the tendency to cast disdainful glance at the physically challenged.
“Disability, it follows, therefore, is a thing of the mind and not in the form. Consequently, here in RECDOT, disabled as we are quick to call them have been empowered in their minds to look, search and find within their minds of their beautiful souls and spirit.
That enables them to discover the silent yet ever present ability that otherwise will be uncultivated and inactivated in the vaults of their minds.
“RECDOT, therefore, with a glance upon many breath-taking and wonderful creations of its youngsters like flower vessels, hearts, bead bags, shear butter, to mention a few which discovered the ability of the inmates; we have henceforth resolved never to call this place a disability home. It is rather a home for the physically deformed, yet able youngsters with beautiful souls empowered
to be a blessing to humanity,” Mrs Odunukwe said.
She noted that the Olympics body caught this vision after the United Nations declaration for the inclusion of the physically challenged in the Olympics Games.
Mrs Odunukwe said that had necessitated the Olympics federations now to have the Paralympics to allow the physically challenged active participation in international sporting activities.
She declared that the essence of the gathering was to remind the physically challenged about “a special thing we seem to have forgotten by virtue of our common ideal and that is our common humanity.”
Also, Anambra State Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs Ndidi Mezue applauded Mrs Odunukwe for taking care of the inmates and giving them proper direction in life. She promised to make more contributions towards the upkeep of the inmates at a later date.
A consultant surgeon, Dr Obiesie Emma Arinze, who represented Professor Everistus Afiadigwe of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi said that it is unfortunate that society does not pay the needed attention to the welfare of the physically challenged. He identified most of the physically challenged as people with great potentials that should be harnessed and tapped for national development.
In his sermon, a priest, Rev. Prof Ikechukwu Okonkwo categorised every human being as disabled because of the sinful nature of man.
The former deputy vice chancellor of Imo State University said:
“I’m equally disabled. Nobody is better off. But if you see someone who has a more serious case than you have, try to help. We should help the physically challenged because we are in the position to so comparatively.”