…Benola deepens support too
By Moses Nosike
It is a new dawn for children living with disabilities in Lagos state as the humility of Governor Ambode translated into several aspect of empowerments, economically, medically, academically etc. to prove to all that in every child living with disability there is ability.
Also, such empowerments have brought a relief to their parents as their pocket run dry looking for medical solution of their loved ones especially during this time of economic recession in the country. In his effort to improve the condition of these people with disabilities, the governor in the last few months had carried out several empowerment programmes at different locations in the state.
However, considering the cost of acquiring therapies to battle the threat of disabilities in the environment, Lagos needs public and private collaborations to harness potentials embedded in these set of people. In this clarion call, the likes of Benola, a cerebral palsy initiative, GTB and a few responded to this life saving initiative.
Speaking on behalf of His Excellency, Governor Ambode, Special Adviser on Social Development, Lagos State, Mrs Joyce Onafowokan, said, “The empowerment has to do with understanding. We should understand that for every child living with disability there is ability inherent in him. So, if we are to empower the parents, the care-giver, the teacher and those who work with the state government we should begin to think and see those children in a different life.
According to Onafowokan, “We want to partner with businesses, corporations, banks so that there will be a place where they would have therapies available, even as we need a team of consultants, specialists to work with children with disabilities.
It needs everybody’s contribution to alleviate their parents’ pains. The governor has given out some form of non payeable grants of a N100,000.00 each in the first phase to 500 recipients and I believe that would help reduce financial stress in their homes.
We have some of them who are adults and they are traders. The money will go a long way in their businesses. That is one part of the empowerment and how his excellency, Governor Ambode understands what they are going through because of his passionate heart. Also at a recent empowerment programme the Governor gave out 3000 wheel chairs, buses and other devices that help them move around”.
Onafowokan said, “For we to achieve the desired results, we need more hands and I always say that N1 is better than no Naira. On their medication, I want to appeal to pharmaceutical industries to find a way these drugs cheaper for the parents.
Speaking on the partnership between Lagos State and Belola, Onafowokan said, “They were the first friends I made in Lagos. Benola project as we know, because they have 21 year old son who has cerebral palsy shared the same vision. Benola understands the importance of early intervention because if somebody had intervened in the life of his child who is a grown up now when he was much younger, probably the result wouldn’t have been this bad.
So I have been mandated by His Excellency, Governor Ambode to collaborate with them because the state can’t do it alone and those who are already doing, I want to know them to see what they are doing. I want to bring my knowledge coupled with their knowledge to benefit especially children living with disabilities.
“This project is costing a lot of money and that is why they want to partner with business people, because this is a worthy while call. An America said, the measure of a country is valued on the way it treats her children. We will be measured by the way we treated our children”.