By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
As Nigeria marks this year’s Children’s Day, a nongovernmental Organisation, the Engraced Ones Prayer/Advocacy group, has intensified its campaign for inclusion of children with special needs in to mainstream schools.
The NGO had been at the forefront of the campaign for inclusive learning for all forms of children.
Speaking at the weekend to mark the Children’s day, the coordinator of the NGO, Mrs. Bibora Yinkere argued that inclusive education for all children was the best way of uniting children in the country.
She said children should not be discriminated because of their disabilities but should be treated as equals in schools and public places.
“We are advocation for inclusive education in the country and we want children with disabilities to have a place in our mainstream schools. They should not be treated differently. They should be accommodated and be seen like other children.
We also want schools to partner with us to ensure the success and sustainability of inclusive education in the country.”
She further expressed worry that most of the children are not in school, urging constituted authorities in the country to take a giant step to put an end to the plight of children with disabilities.
While speaking about School of Grace initiated by the parents of children with disabilities, the coordinator said the school will soon commence with programme that will be beneficial to the parents and children.
“The school will counsel and train them on various skills. Most of these mothers are not working; we need to train them to have something better for themselves.”
Also speaking, Mrs Gbemisola Alade, who also has a child with special need said
“We are here to steer up the advocacy part for inclusive education that will allow our children to learn with other children without discrimination.”
She said inclusive education will motivate them to do exploits in various fields.
“There are a lot of great Nigerians with disabilities who went to mainstream schools and turned out to be the best. We want the same to be replicated in to the system of education now so that we will collectively work together to ensure a better society for our children.”
On her part, the Initiator, CAPWD inclusive nursery and primary school in disability Colony Karmajiji, FCT – Abuja, Mrs. Omotunde Thompson, said “The country’s national policy talks about inclusion of children with disability. It also stressed formal or informal setting to strengthen their skills, that is why there are vocational centers.
“No child is useless. We need to intensify campaign to parents of the children who are poor and in rural areas. I would advice that information dissemination should be carried out.”
She said with the disability bill in place, “there is more to be done, we don’t need to write them off, we need to encourage and work along with them. Disability is a fraction and not total. Some don’t have the courage. This is an awareness to the society. Govt should ensure special budgetary for children with disability. The government should utilize it.”
Speaking earlier, the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Federal Capital Territory (FCT) chapter, commended the organizers of the programme and urged them to continue to support children with needs.
The Assistant Director, Special Duties of the agency, Chinwe Ikaraoha who represented the DG said with the signing in to law of the disability bill, the children with special needs will have a role to play in the current government.
While urging the public to support them, she said the agency on its part will key in to the campaign and ensure sensitization to the grassroots.