The Lagos Government, on Wednesday, distributed various empowerment materials to Persons Living With Disability (PWD) as part of activities marking the closing ceremony of an empowerment workshop organised by Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs (LASODA).
In his address at the event, held at the LASODA Office Alausa, Ikeja, the Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr. Segun Dawodu stated that the programme is the first of its kind that gives training opportunities to such a large number of PWD at once, by any Government.
While explaining that the participants were trained in various vocations such as sewing, tie & dye, shoe cobbling, electrical installation, barbing, head-gear (gele) making, cosmetology, arts and designs amongst others, Dawodu declared that the programme is a child of necessity as the State government urgently needed to intervene in the high level of rejection and discrimination faced by PWDs over a long period of time.
According to him “It is a fact known to many of us here that until recently, many governments and the society in the past had failed to develop an ideal strategy by which PWDs could be meaningfully and indeed effectively integrated into their day to day policies and programmes. Hence, the present administration, through its various policies initiated by LASODA, is determined to focus on the socio-economic development of PWDs in the State”.
The Commissioner said that the five-week training programme provided opportunities for the beneficiaries, many of whom had lost the hope of ever being able to learn any skilled vocations due to lack of funds to undergo the training.
Expressing satisfaction at the zeal of the participants, Dawodu noted that their positive disposition gives credence to the fact that PWDs are not lazy people but merely needed to be given a chance to exhibit their inherent gifts.
He, however, charged the participants to make good use of the skills acquired and the empowerment materials given to them, saying “I urge you all to make the best use of this opportunity to change your status from nobody to somebody, and prove to the world that there are many abilities in every disability”.
He also used the opportunity to call on the civil society groups to do more in advocating the rights and privileges of PWDs, in order to change the negative and erroneous beliefs of some people and organisations in the society about PWD.
The participants, drawn across recognised cluster associations in the State, went home with various empowerment materials which included hair dryer machines, sewing machines, phone repair kits and electrical tools amongst others.
A cross-section of the participants expressed appreciation to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for empowering and giving them the opportunity to contribute to the growth and development of the State.