By Emmanuel Elebeke
IN line with her dream of bringing succour to people living with disability, MTN Foundation in partnership with Friends of the Disabled has commissioned a skill acquisition project for the disabled at Oja-Oba, Isale-Eko, Lagos.
Commissioning the project Lagos state governor, Babatunde Fashola, represented by the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs. Joke AdefulureÂ said the initiative was in line with the state governmentâ€™s objective of alleviating poverty through skill acquisition programme across the state. He pledged the state governmentâ€™s commitment at creating enabling environment in the sector that would facilitate growth and development in the nation as a whole.
In his remarks, Corporate Services Executive of MTN, Akinwale Goodluck said â€œthe project is dear to us because it brings succour to a category of our people who , because of their peculiar physical conditions are precluded from many of the facilities that the rest of us take for granted.
According to him, the idea was to empower great percentage of the estimatedÂ 250 million Nigerians living with one form of disability or the other with skills and capacity that would aid them to be self reliant and self sustaining, with out necessarily be liabilities to the families and relatives.
â€œThe skill acquisition centre has been refurbished, equipped and upgraded to provide skills in theÂ areas of computer appreciation, bead making, welding, fashion designing, agriculture, among others. This is one of the ways that we convinced that we can make a lasting difference in the lives of this category of our people.â€ said Goodluck.
His royal majesty, Oba Rilwan Akiolu of Lagos, in his speech commended MTN foundation for the gesture saying that it would boost development of the state and nation at large.Oba Akiolu commended Friends of the Disabled (FOTD) and said, the projectÂ will provide the disables, opportunity to learn skills.
, adding that such when acquired will enable them to undependably earn decent living and raise their own families. The traditional ruler thenÂ called on well meaning Nigerian and corporate organizations in the country to join hands with the state government at assisting those living with disability to enable them live decent life.
One of the beneficiaries, Miss. Blessing Urieto expressed gratitude to MTN foundation for providing them with the opportunity, saying with this â€œI can plan ahead as a student on how to grow my business when I leave here in two years time.â€
In her speech, the executive Director, Friends of the Disabled, Mrs. Aku Oduh expressed gratitude to MTN Foundation for the gestured it showed to the centre, saying that the project would offer them the opportunity to see and learn a variety of things that would help them participate actively in human services and nation building through talent development.
â€œWe are here to witness the gigantic step MTN Foundation has taken to include the less privileged into the main stream of the society and to give honour to whom honour is due. for us in Friends of the Disabled, illiteracy and poverty are disabilities because they constitute handicap. As we thought them how to read and write, we also taught them how to get out of poverty.â€ said Oduh.