Story by Biby Yinkere
The Group started on 16th April, 2015 in a small hotel called Talifa Hotel, Alta Balefi, Nasarawa State with a total number of about 25 adults most of whom were neither special parents nor caregivers.
From then till January 2018, membership continued to grow with quarterly prayer meetings held in homes of members and a daily prayer platform on WhatsApp.
The Engraced Ones grew into a Non Governmental Organisation, the Engraced Ones Prayer Support and Advocacy Initiative following its registration on March, 2018.
This signified an extension of its activities to include Sensitization, Advocacy and all forms of Awareness creation. Activities related to these include open sensitization programmes in Market places, street corners, religious organisations, courtesy visits to Ministries, MDA’s, Corporate organisations and other private organisations. In the years 2018 and 2019 respectively, members and friends of the Organisation have celebrated high traffic days like World Cerebral Palsy Day, Down Syndrome Awareness Day and Children’s Day by putting together a 100 man Prayer and Advocacy Walks along the streets of the FCT.
On September 2019, the Educational Arm of the organisation kicked off with the opening of the School of Grace Learning and Vocational Centre where about 9 children are currently being trained at a highly subsidized rate. The Centre is located at LEA Primary School, Jikoyi, Abuja. This facility was put together by the collective efforts of all members.
Over the years, the training arm of the NGO had organized privately and also encouraged members to participate at training programmes organised by other organisations for parents and caregivers of special needs.
At this point, it is worthy to note that the Organisation had formed relationships and synergized with several organisations to enable it actualise its vision.
At the moment, Group activities are sponsored members and friends.
Membership is open and free to all adults who have sincere love for persons with disabilities.
The organisation organized a five day on-line event on all its social media platforms from 12 -16th April to commemorate its 5th Anniversary. The programme featured praise and prayer sessions for children, the family, educators and medical discoveries as well as for the Nation.
Professionals from various fields were invited to sensitize participants on various subjects relating to Special Needs.
The celebration featured talks from seasoned Autism Management experts like Dr Doris Izuwah and Mr Francis Morhie, Mrs Nifemi Ajileye a Psychologist who spoke on the need of parents to take advantage of Parent Support Systems, Mrs Chinyere Chukwu led participants through the importance of mentioning the mental health of the family in view of the trauma of raising a child with disability. Mr Christian Nnoli a physiotherapist, advised parents on the importance of early intervention to in meeting the pysiotheraphy and occupational therapy needs of their special children particularly those who live with Cerebral palsy. These were followed by a brief discussion on the fundamental human rights of a child by Mrs Sophie Oto.
Beadgod led parents and caregivers through the process of making informed vocational choices for their children.
Being a Faith based organisation, the event was spiced with a talk on how Engraced children could be taught bible lessons and precepts by Ms. Adelola Edema while intensive prayer sessions were led by Pastor Mrs. Kemi Ogbemidia of Shepherd House, Yenagoa and Pastor Mrs Sarah Adeoye of Winning Women International and Deaconess Gbemisola Alade.
The programme was further enriched by the appearance of Mrs Tola Makinde, Ambassador Down syndrome Nigeria, herself a special parent and founder of s sister Organisation.
The icing of the cake was the appearance of some persons who inspite of various physical challenges, have excelled in their chosen field of endeavour.
Foremost among them was Mrs Lois Auta, she spoke on her numerous abilities and dreams and determination to attain uncommon heights, Mr Christain Agbo held talks on Disability and Marriage, Ms Tobilola Ajayi spoke on strategies parents need to engage to to effectively transition their special children while Ms Annabel Onyinye shared her personal experiences of mentioning a successful career in the Civil Service and Ms. Aver Ashim advised parents to introduce their children to vocational training and business opportunities in a competitive environment.
Other activities to mark the event include the formal introduction of the Board of Trustees and Patron of the Organisation, Recognition of Foundational and exceptional members of the Group and Tributes and goodwill messages from friends of the Organisation.
SEE SOME PICTURES OF ENGRACED ONES EVENTS AND PROGRAMMES