By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
A Nongovernmental Organisation, Engraced Ones Prayer Support, and Advocacy Initiative, EOPSAI, has marked five years anniversary of standing and supporting children with special needs.
The Founder, EOPSAI, Bibora Yinkere, made this known in a statement signed by Communication Officer, EOPSAI, Mayowa Afolabi, saying the organization has been passionate about the condition and future of children with special needs including those with Down syndrome and cerebral palsy, hence has been on advocacy drives, capacity building and embarked on projects to add value to the lives of these vulnerable ones.
According to Yinkere activities regularly embarked upon including open sensitization programmes in market places, street corners, religious organizations; public and private schools; courtesy visits to ministries, departments, and agencies; sensitization talks at corporate and private organizations.
For many years till now, members and friends of the organization have celebrated high traffic days like World Cerebral Palsy Day, Down Syndrome Awareness Day and Children’s Day by putting together a 100-man prayer and advocacy walk along the streets of the FCT coupled with other activities.
Those in attendance at the fifth anniversary include resource persons, medical doctors, physiotherapists, special needs parents, religious leaders, psychologists, experts on managing support systems, and of course, persons living with special needs themselves.
She said: “The 5th-anniversary celebration of the Engraced Ones Prayer Support and Advocacy Initiative, EOPSAI, held earlier in the year. It was such a glamorous and colourful event.
“Truly, giving care to or parenting special needs children can be taxing and challenging. But the non-governmental organization called the ‘Engraced Ones Prayer Support and Advocacy Initiative, has been providing great support and guide for special needs children and their caregivers as well, within the Federal Capital Territory.
“The Group started in the year 2015 with a total number of about 25 adults most of whom were neither special needs parents nor caregivers. This metamorphosed into a Non-Governmental Organization called the ‘Engraced Ones Prayer Support and Advocacy Initiative’ following its registration with the CAC on March 2018.
“The vision and objectives of the Engraced One’s Prayer Support and Advocacy Initiative include to prayerfully nurture the children into physical and emotional wellbeing; to provide a safe environment for parents and caregivers to interact, share experiences, concerns, and progress and finally, to create awareness on the importance of the rights of the child to life, health, care, education, and social security. These are truly what the NGO has been dutifully propagating.
“Towards fulfilling the first objective of the organization to prayerfully nurture the children into physical and emotional well-being, periodical prayer events are being organized. This is premised on the persuaded believe in the power of God to help these ones and transform them into fulfilling the purpose
“This singularly has brought succor, peace, and inner strength to parents and caregivers who have the tendency to go weary in the care of these children, especially when without external palliative of any sort.
“Towards the second objective to provide a safe environment for parents and caregivers to interact, share experiences, concerns, and progress; the NGO launched her training program called ‘The School of Grace Learning and Vocational Centre’. It also ensures that training and retraining of special needs parents and caregivers are organized. This creates an avenue to interact, share concerns, and progress.
“The School of Grace Learning and Vocational Centre has about nine children who are currently being trained at a highly subsidized rate. The Centre is located at LEA Primary School, Jikwoyi, Abuja. This facility was put together by the collective efforts of all members.
“Creating awareness on the importance of the rights of the child to life, health, care, education and social security, which is the third objective has become the major and herculean task of the organization. The organization took off on a high note of sensitization, advocacy, and all forms of awareness creation. This is because systems and people around are evidently less informed about the plight and rights of special needs children.”
She also disclosed that over time, the organization has formed relationships and synergies with several organizations to enable it actualize its vision including Ike Foundation for Autism, Dewdrops Community Centre, Patsilver Educational, and Therapy Centre, Siblings of Special Needs Foundation, among many others.