Rights advocate for persons with disabilities, the Inclusive Education and Individualised Education Plan Centre (IEIEPC), marked the 2019 International Day of People with Disabilities (IDPWD) with a visit to the Modupe Cole Memorial Child Care and Treatment Home in Lagos.
The UN-backed International Day of People with Disabilities (IDPWD), which started as the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons in 1983 and later became the International Day of Disabled Persons in 1992, is held annually on December 3 to celebrate people with disabilities, promote public awareness and draw the commitment of governments and organisations to implementing measures to improve the lives of disabled persons all over the world.
The 2019 IDPWD’s theme, ‘The Future is Accessible’, focuses on the empowerment of persons with disabilities for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development as envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
In his address to the staff and mates, the Director, IEIEPC, Mr. Oyeyinka Oluwawumi stated that the IDPWD is convinced that disability is not a feature of a person, but that all people have different health impairments at some time in their lives.
“IDPWD exists to make sure that environmental and social barriers are identified, and to help everyone to work together to overcome them. There are some that most of the time their health impairment does not stop them from functioning, being included or participating in their communities; there are others that are affected by such. We will never eradicate health impairment but by overcoming barriers, then we eradicate disablement,” he said.
Oluwawumi described as apt the theme for the 2019 IDPWD because it focuses on the empowerment of persons with disabilities for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development as envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which pledges to ‘leave no one behind’.
“This theme places on us all the responsibility to work towards a future where the barriers which stand in people’s way no longer exist; where people can access a building without using stairs; where a person can access a ramp to the beach or access a mainstream classroom or get a job without fear of discrimination. At the IEIEPC, we are ready to support a future which demands that people are not excluded because of their disabilities. There is the need to call out barriers wherever we see them, and work together to overcome them.”
He commended the Nigerian government for setting the tone for this future with the signing into law the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act by President Muhammadu Buhari on January 23, 2019.
Also speaking, the Director of Modupe Cole Memorial Child Care and Treatment Home, Mrs. Sherifat Rabiu decried the stigmatisation of persons with disabilities by members of the society “who rather should show love and understanding.
“Stigmatisation of these people is still very rife in the society and it is rather an unfortunate development. It is painful to see that after we have laboured for years over these persons, deploying so much resources, the same society refuses to accept and integrate them as her respected and valuable members. Stigmatisation is a very big concern that we all must address.”
The IEIEPC is a non-profit organisation that is devoted to advocacy and enlightenment campaign for inclusion. It provides continuous training for teachers, parents, social workers and other stakeholders on issues of inclusive and special education.
The celebration featured donations of food items by the IEIEPC team, exhibitions of hand crafts and musical performance by the school’s choral group.