The Federal government has on Monday commenced a two-day capacity building workshop on independent living for visually impaired persons and income-generating activities for 30 persons with disabilities from the Northeast zone in Bauchi.
The training which drew thirty participants from the six states making up the northeast subregion is aimed at empowering them with skills to live independently and ideas to become self-reliant to jettison street begging.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Faruk, who declared the training open said there is a need for persons with disabilities in the northeast to be empowered so they can earn a living for themselves, especially given the socio-economic indices of the region.
Represented by the Director of Special Needs in the Ministry, Mrs Nkechi Onwukwe, assured that the Federal government through her Ministry and other agencies of government will continue to develop and implement policies and programmes that will impact positively on the lives of the most vulnerable Nigerians.
“In Nigeria as well as other developing countries, negative attitudes based on stereotypes and ignorance about the skills and capacity of persons with visual impairment to live independently is seen as the greatest obstacle in preventing them from accessing opportunities available from within mainstream society and enjoying other aspects of social inclusion,” the minister said.
The Minister said it is important for people to understand that the persons with visual impairment like every other human being deserve the same choice and control of their everyday lives.
“It is therefore important to know that persons with visual impairment like every other human being deserve the same choice and control of their everyday lives to grow up with their families, go to schools, use the same bus as their neighbours and work on jobs that are in line with their education and interest.
“Worthy of note also is the Nigeria Farm craft Centre for the Blind, in Lagos established to provide visually impaired adults with skills and training in a conducive environment. The centre provides full boarding facilities, feeding, toiletries and medical care for the period of the training for no cost to the beneficiaries,” she added.
The Minister said within this month, her ministry trained fifty-five visually impaired persons with different skills and provided them with wherewithal support to start up their businesses.
“At the beginning of March 2022, the centre graduated a total of 55 trainees that acquired skills ranging from ICT, handcraft, and catering services among others. All the trainees were provided with settlement allowance as well as grants to enable them to start up their own businesses,” Sadiya said.
In his remark, the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry in Bauchi state, Alhaji Bashir Nura Alkali, represented by Director, Special Need of the Ministry in Bauchi State, Hassan Madugu, Mr Alkali said the gesture is one of the copious developmental programs initiated by the federal government for the people with disabilities.
Speaking earlier, the Executive Secretary, Bauchi State Agency for Persons with Disability, Mrs Briska Jauron stated that Bauchi State was the first state to create an agency for people with special needs in the zone, noting that the state is collaborating with relevant stakeholders to upgrade it to a commission in the state.
One of the participants, Comrade Bitrus Richard from Adamawa state who is visually impaired told WikkiTimes that he is hopeful that by the end of the programme he and other participants would be equipped with various skills to be self-reliant.
He thanked the Ministry and the Federal government for the kind gesture, promising that he will deliver the skills he acquired at the training to other colleagues in his community.
WikkiTimes gathered that at the end of the two-day program, the participants are expected to acquire skills and knowledge like skills of cooking and other domestic work, as well as business tips so that they can engage themselves in productive ventures in their respective societies and become self-reliant.