Posted by By Olubusuyi Adenipekun on
PEOPLE with various disabilities who are undergoing training in skills acquisition at the Competent Handicapped Industry and Vocational Training.....
PEOPLE with various disabilities who are undergoing training in skills acquisition at the Competent Handicapped Industry and Vocational Training Centre (CHIVTC), Lagos, have faulted the nation’s education system for not adequately catering for the interest of disabled people.
They see this disregard for them as one of the reasons why Nigeria has failed to realise her dream of harnessing her God-given natural endowments as well as the talents of her citizenry.
This assertion came from the President and Founder of CHIVTC, Mr. Oluwatele Olaide, while speaking on a theme titled, “Relevance of Vocational Skills Acquisition to the Handicapped.”
Explaining that handicapped people in developed countries have been empowered, by their well-planned education system and various skills training programmes, to become professionals in various field of human endeavours, Olaide regretted that the opposite is the case in Nigeria, adding that the littering of major roads and streets by beggars is a fall-out of their neglect by government.
Olaide, a blind trainer of disabled people, said: “Nigeria’s educational system is flawed because it does not take the interest of the handicapped into consideration. While people with disabilities in developed world are helped, through education and training, to be professionals, it is not so in Nigeria.’’
‘‘Instead, our politicians indulge in wasteful spending of money. All we are calling for is a change of attitude by our government and the society at large towards people with special needs so that we can be empowered in learning various skills which will make it possible for us to work and feed our family members, thereby, ridding our streets of beggars and destitutes.”
He said further: “Some people think that giving alms is all the handicapped needs, basing this on the teachings of religions which promote alms giving. By making them to see education and skills acquisition as utterly useless, people with disabilities are invariably forced to depend on crumbs. A whole generation of people have, through this attitude, been rendered useless, as they have no means of livelihood other than to beg for alms. “Another wrong attitude of our society is its tendency to shunning the products of handicapped as if they are inferior. By so doing, we are discouraged. It is noteworthy that handicapped people are very industrious and diligent. This negative attitude of people must change if we are to inculcate the culture of hardwork and self-reliance in people with disabilities,” says Olaide.
Addressing disabled people who had gathered to listen to him, Olaide further said: “We don’t need to beg, we need to work. There is dignity, pride, self esteem and independence in labour. To help rid our nation of the menace of beggars, we need government’s assistance as well as that of donor agencies, both locally and internationally.”
Mr. Oluwatele Olaide is one of the few persons in the country who gives meaning to the popular saying that there is ability in disability. As a blind man, he struggled through thick and thin to be educated, through which he qualified as a craft teacher, working with the Lagos State Ministry of Education.
For many years, he taught at Modupe Memorial College for Mentally Retarded people, Akoka, Lagos. But, although he was gainfully employed, he later resigned to establish the Competent Handicapped Industry and Vocational Training Centre.
The centre came into being on March 30, 1987. It was set up initially to cater for the welfare of the visually impaired.
But today, it has expanded its activities to cater for the physically and mentally handicapped, in line with its motto, which is, to liberate handicapped people from being subservient and taking to begging and destitution to instill hope in them so that they will be independent economically, socially and be able to contribute their quota to national development.
So far, Olaide has successfully trained 52 disabled people in various skills such as raffia work, cane craft, soap, cosmetics, foot mats, teaching of the handicapped in reading and writing, computer typing and secretariat education. It is on record that most of the trainees have set up small scale businesses.
However, the skills acquisition centre has been operating with a lot of challenges. Its equipment/tools are obsolete and it faces dearth of funds. As a result, the centre has been relying heavily on donations from churches and public spirited individuals in the society.
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