The Chairman of Resource Centre for the Blind (RCB), Vice-Admiral Jubrila Ayinla (rtd), has said that fundamental human rights ensure that persons with disabilities are not excluded from all facets of life.
“This week, as we celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we join the world to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilise support for the rights and welfare of persons with disabilities (PWDs).”
He said it is crucial that persons with disabilities are empowered and afforded equal opportunities to participate in society.
“However, many persons who are blind and visually impaired are disadvantaged. In the African context, educated young professionals have challenges of equal opportunities let alone those who are persons with disabilities.
“The World Bank Group Nigeria states that out of 18 million PWD in Nigeria, only 0.3 per cent are gainfully employed. According to World Blind Union, less than 10% of published materials are available in formats that print-disabled people can read, putting such persons at a disadvantage in their studies, and a majority of the visually impaired do not have access to transformative solutions that would aid their dependency.”
He said in an effort to address this problem, many innovative technologies have been made to lower barriers that persons with disabilities encounter in their daily lives such as communicating, navigating, reading, and writing.
“Currently, innovations that are made available for the blind can be summarized to include mobility canes, cellphones, tactile, braille, screen reader, and talking wristwatches.
“The Resource Centre for the Blind situated at 373, Borno Way, Yaba, Lagos, took steps to cater to the needs of persons with visual impairment by rehabilitating and equipping them with the skills and requisite platforms to blossom, as well as capacity building of institutions working within the space to be able to leverage on the use of technological development.”
“On the International Day for Persons with Disabilities, themed,’ Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fueling an accessible and equitable world, we are calling for equal technology accessibility and equitable opportunities for all.
We implored the government, policymakers, and corporate entities to work together and make affordable transformative solutions available; invest in inclusive employment, as well as ensure the empowerment of disability-focused organisations to support and provide services to persons with disabilities.
“It is pertinent that policymakers make efforts to raise awareness surrounding disability as this would serve to shift negative perceptions and stigma against persons with disabilities in the society.”