By Ola Ajayi
IBADAN — WHEN late Dr Andrew Foster, a deaf black American established the Ibadan Mission School for the deaf in May 1960, all he wanted was to reduce the social stigma attached to people living with disabilities and make them relevant like other normal people.
Though, the vision of the founder still lives on 58 years after his death and the current management of the school is leaving no stone unturned to keep the flag of the school flying, facilities in the school that presently has 150 students in both primary and secondary schools are in a state of great disrepair.
Despite their efforts at lessening the burden of destitute on the society by picking some of them from the streets and transforming them to responsible people, the school gets little support from well meaning people in the country.
According to Mr Peter Obadare, the Supervisor of the school, 20 of the 150 students were picked from the streets where they were abandoned by their biological parents.
He appealed to corporate bodies, tiers of government, politicians, religious bodies to put smiles on the faces of the innocent students of the school located at plot 78, Commercial reservation, Onireke, Ibadan.
While conducting Southwest Voice round the choking premises where ill-equipped laboratory, small staff rooms, hostels, dinning hall and kitchen were erected, Obadare, who commended the Oyo State Government added that even though their 30 acres of land which the state government had previously acquired had been released to them, courtesy of Governor Abiola Ajimobi, the management of the school is yet to receive any document to that effect.
Twin sisters, Theresa Balogun and Mary Balogun, who are both hearing-impaired have put their disabilities behind and aimingd high. So also are the senior boy and girl of the school, Favour Dada and Suleiman Shuaib, who want to become medical doctor and computer scientist, respectively. The students have been outstanding in their final examinations like NECO and WAEC.
Obadare said: “Here, we have water, electricity and other amenities problem. We buy water from water tanker and this consumes much of our overhead cost. We want politicians to come to our aid because we take our people who are eligible voters to cast their votes in every election.
Just last year, we took about 200 to polling units where they voted. Some of our students are qualified to vote because they have their PVCs”, he said.