Friends of The Disabled (FoTD) has expressed its determination to continue training and empowering youths with disabilities in the society to ensure that they are economically relevant.
Founder, FoTD, Mrs. Christy Orduh, said this during a recent graduation ceremony of some of the disabled youths and students of the FoTD Vocational training Centre Oja-Oba Adeniyi Adele, Lagos.
The graduating disabled youths who were assembled from different states of the federation were trained in different skills by the organisation and its sponsors.
They have been empowered in different professions including fashion designing, shoe-making, welding, computer, farming and other skilled jobs.
“Our idea and objectives have been to develop the talents of youths with disabilities in order to make them valued and useful adults in the society,” Orduh said.
She said the vision for the future generation is to relate, communicate and accommodate one another without hindrance and discrimination, despite differences including disabilities.
According to her, this was gradually being realised especially in the centre among the students who had been empowered.
She said FoTD, has records of some of its students who had been employed and some who had established their own businesses and were doing well.
“Our focus now is not only empowerment but also rehabilitation with jobs that can fetch them income with what they have learnt,” she said.
She also said that two ex-students of the centre had recently been rehabilitated, and that one was continuing education and also features as a tailor, while the other works with a bone craft centre for income generation.
Its next efforts, she added, is the spreading of the learning of sign language among youths without impairment of any type, as well as those with impairment not related to hearing and speech.
Orduh observed that parents and communities are yet to change their negative attitude towards their children with disabilities, especially those who have left primary and secondary schools who happen to fall within the empowerment programme.
She said members of the public who wish to sponsor the youths could do so through provision of full or part of sponsorship and could team up to train some of the students.
“We have facilities to train and accommodate between 35 and 40 students both male and female,” she said.
While noting that a lot of youths with disabilities are idle in their homes and a lot roam around the streets begging, she said they should be carried along in the society through empowerment and not just giving them alms on the streets, which encourages them to remain on the street.