Cover photo: Wife of the Governor of Anambra State, Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano presenting work tools and Laptop to one of the Graduands
The wife of the governor of Anambra State, Chief Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano could not hide her feeling of excitement as she poured encomiums on the South Saharan Africa Social Development Organization (SSDO) for embarking on skill acquisition programme for 50 persons with disability who graduated after a three-month free Mobile Phone Repair and software installation Training at Umuleri, Anambra East Local Government Area on Friday, October 23, 2015.
The wife of the governor also commissioned the CAFE Cares Vocational and Welfare Centre at Umuleri which houses computer laboratory, hair dressing sewing and bead making classrooms as well as male and female hostels, in addition to donating N500, 000 to procure generating sets to source light for the business.
Speaking as the Special Guest of Honour at the Graduation and commissioning ceremonies, Chief Mrs Obiano thanked the Country Director of SSDO, Mrs Grace Chinegwundoh Nwobodo for bringing the training programme to Anambra State, stressing that the training for persons with disabilities is in line with the mission of her pet project, the Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ).
Chief Mrs Obiano who was accompanied by the wife of the Anambra East Local Government Council, Mrs Jennifer Udeano and the representative of the traditional ruler of Aguleri, Igwe Idigo 1V, Chief Emma Ike, among other top government officials, noted that the event is an encouragement to the little efforts her pet project is making to make life more meaningful for the physically challenged.
Graduands singing for the guests
According to her, she is disposed to identifying with people who share her charitable ideals, and expressed the readiness of her pet Project, CAFE to partner with the SSDO, in the spirit of brotherhood, to expand the scope of the empowerment programme across the State.
The First Lady congratulated the graduands of the training programme and urged them to utilize the knowledge they have gained for their own economic emancipation, hoping that they will serve as resource persons to transfer the knowledge they gained to others when called upon.
“My pet project will continue to partner with the Anambra State Government to ensure that we put smiles on the faces of the physically challenged. CAFE has already provided assistive devices like wheel chairs and walking aids to some physically challenged in the state. We have also provided prosthetic legs and arms to hundreds of physically challenged in the State. Our hope is that we will continue until we have touched as many physically challenged persons as God’s providence will allow us to touch.”
She commended her husband, governor Obiano Willie for his support and love to the physically challenged which, she said, is evident from his approval for the renovation of the abandoned party house to serve as a vocational and skill acquisition centre for the physically challenged, while thanking all others who contributed in various ways to get the place ready for the take-off of the training programme as well as the training facilitators.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Victoria Chikwelu who thanked SSDO for the training programme, noted with thanks that the success of the event would not have been possible if not for the special intervention of the wife of the governor of the State, Chief Mrs Obiano who, according to her, ensured the completion of the building to accommodate the trainees of the programme and followed it up with the provision of food stuff and other nutritional requirements to ensure the comfort of the trainees.
Mrs Chikwelu who thanked SSDO for partnering with the Ministry to organize the programme congratulated the trainees and urged them to use the knowledge they have acquired these months to help themselves and thereafter pass the acquired knowledge in addition to becoming great employers themselves while assuring that her Ministry under the Governor Obiano administration will continue to embark on programmes to alleviate the plight of the physically challenged in the State.
She stated that the commissioning of the centre is part of the Obiano administration to ensure that skill acquisition centres are brought closer to the people, adding that the CAFE Cares Vocational and Welfare Centre is among the best centres for the physically challenged persons in the South East zone with facilities well planned to enhance the free mobility of the persons with special needs.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Country Director of SSDO, Mrs Nwobodo said “we are gathered here … to celebrate hard work, commitment and excellence, all of which have been made possible by the generous support of Oxfam Novib, which enabled SSDO to embark on this project, aimed at providing training to 100 physically disabled women and men in Anambra State and Enugu States, in the repair and maintenance of mobile phones.”
Mrs Nwobodo who cited United Nations statistics which projects over 20 million Nigerians as persons with disabilities, stated that of this number, the Federal Office of Statistics puts 70 percent as being without gainful employment, while bemoaning a situation in Nigeria where 80 percent of the persons with disabilities live in low and middle income parts of the society and make a living from begging on the streets or support from family members.
While thanking Obiano’s wife for her support, care and motherly love towards the course participants, she appreciated the gracious gift of the centre, the training venue and home for the trainees throughout the duration of the course, and appreciated the care from the Council Chairmen of Anambra East and West local government Councils and Women Affairs and Social Development Ministry.
She observed that the intervention by SSDO is in recognition that the many problems faced by PWDs can be addressed through employment and income generation, stressing that, if empowered, the beneficiaries can live full productive lives for the overall benefit of the society.
The Country Director pointed out that from the feedback, the participants were excited while the women expressed surprise that they could cope with the technical aspects of the training often times regarded as an exclusive preserve of the men, adding that the success story of the event proves beyond all reasonable doubt that there is ability in disability.
In an interview with newsmen, the wife of the Anambra East Local Government Council Chairman, Mrs Udeano thanked governor Obiano’s wife and Country Director of SSDO for bonding to make the empowerment programme possible for the benefit of the physically challenged who she said are often neglected and discriminated against in the society.
Mrs Udeano called on some other well-meaning individuals and corporate bodies to emulate the good works of charity by CAFE and SSDO in order to improve the lots of the less privileged members of the society, stressing that the people of Anambra East Council Area will ever remain grateful to governor Obiano and his wife for the facelift given to the area in all sectors of life..
In his remark, the President of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, Comrade Ugochukwu Okeke thanked the governor’s wife and Country Director of SSDO for teaming up to make the training programme a huge success, adding that the physically challenged persons have benefitted from the governor Obiano administration more than all other governments in the past.
Each of the 50 graduands received a laptop, repair kits and seed fund to enable them support their business and eke out a living.
The beneficiaries include Kingsley Ezeadi, Paul Chioke, Okwudili Ume Okafor, Uchenna Ezu, Okonkwo Chukwudubem, Offor Nonso, Ngozi Obi, Doris Nwakwenyi and Ebere Aniekie.