By IGHO OYOYO
A nongovernmental organisation under the umbrella of Steps to the Top Leadership Centre (STLC), has appealed to the Minister of FCT, Mallam Bello Mohammed and other government at all levels to construct public infrastructure to suit persons with special needs and made public space to be accessible to people with disabilities.
Dr. Theresa Nwachukwu, founder of the organization made the call at the weekend in Abuja during the second phase of ”Program Thinkable 2″, a training programne aim at changing the mineset of women living with Disabilities for them to realise the potential God has given them to do something for themselves rather than waiting for aims from the public.
Nwachukwu said that the programs which was sponsored by the VOICE Nigeria in Conjunction with Oxfam International was to shape the minds of women with disabilities and make them useful to themselves, their family and the society atlarge, there by contributing their quarter for the developments of our country.
”There are universal standards of how high building , a toilet should be for a person on a wheelchair to move between them. Those standards should start being maintained”, According to Dr. Nwachukwu.
”There is a standard of where the doorknob should be. It is difficult for people with disabilities to get around. Everything should just be made accessible to people with disabilities.
”Policies need to be changed, government should improve accessibility to public transports, healthcare, social services, education amongst others, for persons with disabilities,” she said.
Nwachukwu said that program thinkable was aimed at shifting the mindset of women with disabilities in Abuja with the aim of building confidence in them, adding that the program was to give them the capacity to speak up for themselves and to have grace to carry themselves in spite of living with disabilities.
”We found out that some of the challenges of women with disabilities is lack of self confidence. Most of the activities that people do for people with disabilities are always like charity or empowerment, trainings and giving grinding machines for example.
”But we are actually at the level of the mindset of helping a woman to have confidence in herself, to set goals, have a clear vision of what she wants, learn how to communicate with other people.
”We felt that there is a gap, and that was what our project sort to fill. We did project thinkable 1, which has 3 thematic areas like; Leadership development. Here we teach them how to set goals for yourself.
”How to set a vision. What do you understand about who you are as a woman living with disability? How to communicate with people. How to prepare for job interviews, amongst others,” she said.
One of the disable women trained, Maureen Chioma Egede, thanks STLC management for the training , according to her she is already empowered because this has change her mine and the way she think about her self. she call on Government, spirited Nigerians and other development partners to embark on such ventures that will give people with special needs hope.