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Need: Empowerment Project for Persons with Disabilities in Nigeria

PROBLEM ANALYSIS / BACKGROUND INFORMATION:
The World Bank estimates that people with disabilities make up around 20% of the poorest of the poor, which translates to approximately 260 million people with disabilities living in absolute poverty. This is against the backdrop of some militating factors such as lack of access to resources control; poor educational background or low literacy. The unprecedented level of poverty among this group and the associated hunger leads to Malnutrition, which in turn can result in a number of disabilities, such as stunting, blindness, and diabetes. Hunger is a driving force, which push disabled persons into street begging. Generally speaking, disabled people are seen as ‘good for nothing’ and they suffer severe psychological problems.

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa with an estimated population of about 150 million. Among this number, 10 million people are disabled and about 9 out of the 10 million disabled people live below the poverty line. Access to education and employment opportunities is limited to the disabled persons. They lack skills, face discriminations and segregation hence they are highly vulnerable to poverty and diseases. They lack personal development and growth which is crucial in any human endeavour. There are social stigmas associated with disability to the extent that families often reject their own members with disabilities. Persons with disabilities lack the wherewithal to assist themselves in setting up their own businesses for economic empowerment. The economic and social status make it increasingly impossible for persons with disabilities to easily gain acceptance and integration into the society. In Nigerian society disabled persons are seen as objects of pity or charity, the society are comfortable and prefer giving disabled persons money on the streets to giving them paying jobs and shelter, hence persons living with disabilities see street begging as the only and sure source of income. Street begging is thus their main source of income and their daily bread depends primarily on that. The dangers involved in street begging are better imagined. By engaging in this activity, they are exposed to more danger. They live in makeshift dwellings and these dwellings do not provide any protection from the weather or human induced danger. Stories abound of disabled persons who have been victims of ritual killing. Disabled people are highly vulnerable to all forms of vices and diseases. Most disabled young people often times resort to taking hard drugs due to lack of proper guidance, counseling and mentoring.

Against the narrated background, Divine Foundation for Disabled Persons, a non governmental organization with and by persons with disabilities came into being. The DFDP has a mission of providing relevant community based programmes and services aimed at the development of the disabled persons on the basis of equality, justice and respect. DFDP is a platform for persons with disabilities hence it assists in providing empowerment programmes for disabled persons in the areas of mentoring, skill acquisition, training and sensitization. Our programmes hinge on a philosophy, which is our strong belief in the relevance and potentials of disabled persons as individuals and as members of the society. Our goal is for all disabled persons to live normal life with integrity, dignity and respect as they are part of the community. We champion the cause of the disabled persons by encouraging the attainment of self-appreciation, self worth, integrity and respect for the existence of individuals. We promote programmes for economic, social and political empowerment. By building capacity of persons with disabilities, they will seek to further their rights and benefits in the society.

Proposed Project/activities
We are seeking support to run projects aimed at imparting skills on individuals. We have proposals to train persons with disabilities on bead making, hat making and shoe making. The skills empower them to be self reliant. Resource persons will be hired to teach the skills. The project can run in different locations in Nigeria. We desire to train as much disabled persons as possible (depends on the amount of funding). After the training we follow-up on individuals to ensure that they are established. Activities will involve renting venues, invitations to trainees, workshop and follow-up. Each workshop will last for 3 days and will be residential. The project will achieve economic empowerment thereby eliminating poverty among disabled persons

TARGET BENEFICIARIES:
The target beneficiaries are men, women and girls living with disabilities who are the most vulnerable group in Nigeria.

OBJECTIVES:
To implement income generating activities
To impact skills in the life of persons with disabilities, the acquisition of skills will discourage persons living with disabilities from street begging
To address the issue of poverty and assist eliminate poverty among disabled persons

EXPECTED OUTCOME:
It is expected that the proposed project will positively benefit and change the lives of persons with disabilities. The individuals will be empowered to be able to confront appalling economic situations they face. Individuals will have an alternative to street begging as a means of daily living. Individuals will professionally engage in the skills learnt from the workshop for improved economic living and thus remove attention from alms begging, which to a large extent reduce their integrity.

Contact Information:
Celine Osukwu
Coordinator
Divine Foundation for Disabled Persons
C/o Rights House
43, Adeniyi Jones Avenue,
Ikeja, Lagos.
Tel: 070 2841 1180, 080 8292 7927
Email: foundation4disabled@yahoo.com, hands_foundation@yahoo.com
www.dfdp.org

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