Inclusive education, Access to public infrastructures, Rights of women with disabilities and persons with disabilities in general are hallmark of making life easier for persons with disabilities.
This was the message of Voice of Disability Initiative (VDI) when they paid an advocacy visit to Nigeria aid jama’atu nasir Islam on Wednesday in Lafia, Nasarwa State.
The advocacy visit is part of VDI project supported by Disability Rights Fund which geared towards advocating for inclusive education and rights of women with disabilities.
The Executive Director of VDI, Barr. Catherine Edeh in her speech shared her experiences as a deaf girl who was greatly discriminated upon but that did not deter her from acquiring education and eventually overcome it.
She seeks support towards promoting disability rights especially women with disabilities and support for all disability programmes.
She informed the group that VDI has done a similar project in Adamawa and wish to replicate their achievement in Nasarawa State.
She highlighted some issues such as inclusive education, Sexual Rights of women with disabilities. economic empowerment and accessibility of public buildings. She discouraged too many steps without ramps, advising that where there is steps, ramps should be built as well.
On promoting inclusive education, she encouraged all children learning in the same class irrespective of the status. She cited example of the benefit when she said that a person with disability may be a classmate of person without disabilities who becomes a governor, he may appoint the person with disability as a commissioner because they were in the same class and he knew about the capacity of the person with disability.
She also spoke about laws and policies that promotes disability inclusion.
The group in their response appreciated VDI in the quest of advocating for the rights of PWDs and insisted that Nasarawa is not doing badly when it comes to disability issues.
They recalled the past governor of Nasarawa State, Tanko Al-makura who is also a deaf person, he did a lot to promote disability inclusion, in education, welfare of PWDs. He created scholarship scheme for PWDs.
They identified that there are challenges when it comes to the issues of accessibility of public infrastructures and there should be a lot of improvement in that aspect to promote free movement of those on wheelchair.
They supported the issues of inclusive education saying that in as much as special schools were built, there are still some PWDs who have been seen attending the conventional schools but a lot should be done to promote inclusive education because it has been a national discourse.
He promised to partner with VDI in the area of advocacy saying that as a religious organization, part of their mandate is to advocate for the disadvantaged. Therefore, they promised to collaborate with VDI to add their voice in promoting disability inclusion.