Network for the Advancement of People with Disabilities in collaboration with office of the First Lady of Edo State, gave scholarship and grants to 48 pupils and students with visible disabilities. Adibe Emenyonu who covered the event, reports
Physical disabilities according to medical experts develop in two forms- Congenital (burn naturally) and Acquired (in the course of life).
For Marvelous Ojezua, hers blindness was acquired. According to her, she was in JSS3 when she lost her sight. Consequent upon that she had to stay at home for 13 years before someone introduced her to a non-governmental organisation, Network for the Advancement of People with Visible Disabilities (NAPVID).
In 2013, the network enrolled her in Idia College, Benin City where she completed her secondary school after undergoing rehabilitation on how to read in braille and typing. Today, she is back to school taking her West African School Certificate (WASC) examination.
Ambrose Aifuwa, a visually impaired Law student of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, had similar experience though his was congenital. He stayed at home for many years before he was enrolled in Ihuogue Secondary School, a special school for the physically challenged where he learnt the braille.
These two were among the 48 persons who received scholarship and grants from NAPVID.
In her remarks, the Special Guest of Honour, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki, wife of the Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, said there was need to locate people with special needs and give them a helping hand.
Mrs. Obaseki who was represented by the wife of the deputy governor, Mrs. Maryan Shaibu, said she was delighted to to be part of the event.
According to her, “life does not end because one is physically challenged but to keep moving because there is hope of a better future.”
Also speaking as the occasion, the President, Network for the Advancement of People with Visible Disabilities, organisers of the event, Mr. Melody Omosah, said the essence of the scholarship and grants is a way of reaching out to persons with disabilities, as well prove a point that there is ability in every disability.
He said when the NAPVID was founded six years ago, it was also aimed at advocating for people with disabilities and at the same time empower them through education and skills.
Omosah, who is also visibly impaired but now a lawyer, noted that the foundation with an initial take-off grant of N5 million on the 2nd of December, 2011, began disbursing funds to pupils and students with disabilities.
According to him, “Being physically challenged is not the only criteria to qualify for NAPVID scholarship and grants. We also look out for the academic capacity of the child.
“Ninety-three applications were received. After screening, 48 were successful that will be financed.”
While thanking the immediate past governor of the state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole for the take off grant, Governor Godwin Obaseki for donating a permanent building for the foundation which has been on a rented apartment, patrons and trustees of the foundation for all their assistance, he also appealed to well-meaning individuals in the society to contribute to the foundation
Highlights of the event were the presentation of the scholarships and grants to deserving recipients.
There was also special recognition to a “special teacher”, Mr. Bamigbade Owade, also visibly impaired who went home with a cash gift.
It is not only those with visible disabilities that got grants. The same gesture was also extended to those having hearing problems as well as the paraplegic.
Ololade Shade Blessing, an under graduate of College of Education, Oyo State, one of the beneficiaries had this to say: “the foundation has been responsible for my education since I was small. I am ever grateful to them for giving me this rare opportunity to get educated.”
Also donated were braille books to schools for the blind and other teaching aid like hearing devices for who have hearing challenges.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Miss Marvelous Ojezua thanked the organisers for the gesture accorded her and others to in spite of their conditions, they were able to get formal education like other members of the society who are not in the same condition with them. She promised that they will make judicious use of the grants given them.