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DRAC marks IDPD 2021 and 10 years Anniversary by engaging stakeholders on leadership and participation of PWDs

TQM report,

As part of activities marking 10years Anniversary of Disability Rights Advocacy Center (DRAC) and commemoration of International Day for Persons with Disabilities (IDPD 2021), DRAC organized a National Dialogue On Leadership and Participation of Persons With Disabilities addressing the theme for IDPD 2021 which is “Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world.

The Executive Director of DRAC, Dr. Irene Ojiugo Patrick-Ogbogu, in her welcoming address said that they are having double celebration, IDPD 2021 and DRAC’s 10 years anniversary.

She said that DRAC is 10 years old and they are happy with what they have been able to achieve.

She said that the theme of the DRAC’s 10 years anniversary is Leadership and Participation of Persons with disabilities which is remarkable because it tied with this year’s theme of International Day for Persons with disabilities (IDPD) and it also reflect on how DRAC as an organization have drive the participation of persons with disabilities and how well they have galvanize leadership role of PWDs in the disability agenda. DRAC as an organization are very excited that the effort have started yielding fruits going by the accolades and testimonies from many persons with disabilities and persons without disabilities on how their capacities have been developed through DRAC’s activities.

She said that those accolades have made so excited because it is fulfilling her idea behind finding DRAC which was founded based on her personal experience as a person with disability. The need to educate the public that PWDs have rights and there is need for them to be included and it is not a matter of favour to include PWDs but a right and the right thing to do.

She informed that it is the zeal to achieve the above objective that DRAC vigorously work for 10 years since the inception which was in her living room and today, it has become a household name when it comes to advocacy for disability inclusion.

She also that DRAC has grown but they are still growing because there is still a lot to do to further improve the lives of PWDs.

Dr. Irene while speaking to the press said that theme of IDPD 2021 is spotlighting the leadership role that PWDs must get involved in as Nigeria is building back for COVID-19 era.

PWDs were worst hit from the COVID-19 lockdown and as the government is rolling out programmes which geared towards recovering from economic challenges imposed by the lockdown, PWDs should not be left out.

She also said that one of the greatest challenge DRAC faced in the decade especially from the beginning was the lack of interest on disability issues by the public, MDAs and others. There was a lot of ignorance on disability rights, disability inclusion and again, there is a lot of myths and conceptions about PWDs, so DRAC worked to change these perceptions.

Speaking further, she said that another major challenge was that there was no law protecting persons with disabilities, no policies addressing the needs of persons with disabilities, there was also the focus of DRAC to make changes on these areas and also there were positive results.

She also said the efforts have yielded a lot of positive result, there is a law protecting the rights of PWDs and there are policies targeting PWDs, she informed that what they would be doing now is to strengthen the capacity of the major stakeholders to accelerate the implementation of the law and the policies.

She added that awareness creation at the grassroot is another step to take because it is only in the major cities that a lot has been done, it is time to go down to the hinterlands and get PWDs and people to be knowledgeable about the disability issues.

She also said that they want to consolidate on what they have achieved so far and ensure that the leave no behind so that by the time they would be celebrating the 20th Anniversary, there would be a Africa whereby the rights of PWDs would be at the front burner, accessibility becomes a normal, not tokenistic as what it is being witnessed now.

The event witnessed two panelists sessions, first were leaders from disability community, and second are students volunteers on disability inclusion moderated by Program officer at DRAC, Idris Agboluaje.

Some of disability leaders who participated as panelists are Dairo Dare(GM, LASODA), Ishiaku Adamu( National President, Nigeria Association of the Blind NAB), Nike Akinbola(head, Gender Unit, NCPWD), Theophilus Odaudu(Project Manager in Nigeria, Disability Rights Fund), Adedoyin Beyioku-Alase (Mama Deaf).

There was also cutting of anniversary cake officiated by  The Director at Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Christopher Ugboko.

The event was Co. facilitated by Kie Obomanu, a renowned radio presenter and master of ceremony with disability, he is also the current Chairman, Joint National Association of Persons With Disabilities (JONAPWD) Rivers State Chapter and the stage was well ramped for easy access for wheelchair users and clutches users.

This is an indication that DRAC is master of disability inclusion.

TQM learnt that the celebration will continue on Saturday 4th December, 2021 with a dinner/award night.

 

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