By Emmanuel Elebeke
APPARENTLY looking for a more practicable way of giving succor to the disabled, MTN Nigeria, last week, at the 2009 International Day for persons with disability commemoration put about 470 disabled persons on wheels.
MTN said even the disabled can not walk, there was need to make life more easy and enjoyable for them, calling on other well meaning Nigerians to turn to these set of people in the society, particularly at this time of the year when loved ones are remembered.
Chairman, MTN Foundation, Ambassador Hamzat Ahmadu in his remarks at the event held at Women development centre, AbujaÂ said MTN joined the rest of the world to commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disability to fulfill the United Nationâ€™s aim ofÂ promoting an understanding of disability issues, the rights of persons with disabilities and gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in the political, social, economic and cultural life of their communities.
Ahmadu also said that MTN found the event as a better opportunity to reduce the suffering of the estimated 25 million Nigerians living with disability through the provision of mobility facilities.Â Majority of whom he said have do notÂ have access to facilities that can enable them to conduct their day-to-day activities without significant difficulties.
â€œAs you would imagine, without facilities to aid their mobility, many are unable to attend school like their peers who are able-bodied. And when they decide to pursue technical skills acquisition, it is even more difficult, because there are limited skills acquisition centres targeted at the needs of the disabled in our society.
â€œIt is for this reason that the MTN Foundation under its Economic Empowerment Portfolio came up with two major projects aimed at making life easier for persons with disabilities.
We have the Disability Support Project, a scheme implemented by the Foundationâ€™s partners, the Independent Living People and Mobility and Aid and Appliances Research and Development Centre, which is aimed at providing 5000 mobility aids and appliances for select number of physically challenged people. This is the project under which we are donating mobility aids and appliances to beneficiaries today.â€ said Ambassador Ahmed.
Apart from this project, the MTN foundation chairman said MTN had also embarked on Skills Acquisition Project, which the Foundation is implementing in partnership with the Friends of the Disabled (FOTD).
He said theÂ project was aimed at empowering persons with disabilities by providing them with various vocational skills ranging from Tailoring and Fashion design to metal works and bead making, among others.
The Disability Support Project, according to him was designed to cover all 36 states of the federation. He disclosed that the first phaseÂ of the project had already kicked off in 11 states of the federation, while the remaining 25 States will benefit in subsequent phases.
â€œThis is one way that we are convinced we can make a lasting difference in the lives of this category of our people. Today, 470 beneficiaries will be presented with various kinds of aids and appliances.
The 470 beneficiaries were carefully selected using a very objective process. As you may know, the burning desire of the MTN Foundation is to touch as many lives as possible and ultimately make life better for everyone within the limits of our resources.
This is why the Foundatrion currently has over 160 project sites impacting millions of lives across the country in the key areas of health, education and economic empowermentâ€ Ahmadu added.