Shola Sobowale, Others Support the Physically Impaired   

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Mary Ekah

As a way of giving back to the society, Nollywood actresses, Mrs. Shola Sobowale will be heralding the supports from Nigerian actors and actresses for the physically impaired in the society. Hence she will be bringing together her colleagues in the movie industry to fully support this year’s edition of “Masked May Ball”, an annual event organised by the Federal Nigeria Society for the Blind.

Billed to hold on Saturday May 28 at the Shell Hall, Muson Centre, Lagos at 7.00pm, the May Ball is the society’s flagship event at which it gather for an evening to celebrate its sponsors and showcase courageous students. This year’s edition of the annual event is significant because it marks the 60th year anniversary of the Federal Nigeria Society for the Blind and the Vocational Training Centre, Oshodi.

Sobowale who is fully out to make this year’sedition more meaningful expressed her dismay over the way the physically impaired are treated by the Nigerian society.

“In other countries abroad, people with special needs are given optimum attention but back here in Nigeria, they are neglected and treated with disdain. And as a result this set of people do not have confidence in themselves”.

Lamenting further, she said, “We should not make them feel unwanted. We should not make them live in misery. We should try and support them and make their lives more meaningful and useful to the society. A lot of them have great ideas and untapped talents even though they are physically impaired.”

She also appealed to corporates organisations as well as government agencies to stop discriminating against the physically impaired, noting, “A lot of organisations out there discriminate against them by not offering them job opportunities even when they know many of the physically impaired are very intelligent and are full of great ideas. So what we are saying is that the physically impaired should be given the attention and opportunity they deserve.

“That is why I am taking it up as a huge responsibility to ensure that my colleagues in the movie industry join hands with me to ensure that this course is pursued logically. I want people out there to know that it is not the end of the world for them when they go blind. There are a lot of talents in you, which you can use for your good and that of the society at large. I am equallyappealing to organisations out there to give them jobs because some of these physically impaired people can do better than those with sight.  I am also calling on government to come to their aid by providingevery amenities that these special people require to live their lives with as much comfort as they could.”

Speaking at a press briefing to announce the 2016 May Ball event, the Chairman, Executive Council of the Society, Asiwaju Fola Osibo, said the Federal Nigeria Society for the Blind has through the support of philanthropists, corporate organisations and religious bodies developed a training complex, consisting of a state-of-the-art workshop, library, complex housing, a computer school and a braille press. Other things put in place he said include, a block of classroom for teaching, hostels for both male and female students, a dining hall with kitchen facilities, an administrative block and residential blocks for housing the instructors. To date, over 2,500 blind men and women have benefited from the training and some of the graduates ate in gainful employment.

He noted further that the Society goes a step further in providing an after care service to deserving students with the sum of N50, 000 as sponsorship, adding, “I am happy to tell you that within the new workshop complex we have an Ultra modern digital recording musical studio open for public patronage.”

The Federal Nigeria Society for the Blind is a non-profit organisation established for the rehabilitation and training of adults and adolescents living with vision impairment in Nigeria. Established in 1955, The Federal Nigeria Society for the Blind is still the only non-governmental boarding institution solely committed to rehabilitating those who are blind after being sighted. Its main aim is to restore lost hope, ignite confidence and raise champions who can live productively, independently and contribute to the socio-economic growth of society.