By Sunny A. Ijomah
Anambra State Government has empowered fifty-five physically challenged persons following their graduation from the state's vocational rehabilitation centers in Oba and Aguleri.
This was disclosed at a ceremony to commemorate this year's “World Down Syndrome Day”
The Day which was commemorated at the Professor Dora Akunyili Women's Development Centre Awka had in attendance persons living with Down Syndrome and other Disability challenges, as well as gov ernment functionaries and staff of the state Ministry of Social Welfare, Children and Women Affairs.
The gradaunds who were trained in various vocations including Confectioneries, Bead making, leather work, tailoring, phone and computer repairs, were empowered with sawing machines, HP laptops with mini printers, Gas cylinders and ovens, as well as bead materials, and tools for computer and phones repairs, among others.
Addressing the people, the state Commissioner for Social Welfare, Children and Women Affairs, Lady Ndidi Mezue represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Azuka Oformata reemphasized the commitment of the present administration to giving persons living with disabilities in the state a sense of belonging, disclosing that more physically challenged persons in the state will be added in the state government's disability help list to ensure that all benefit from all packages meant for the segment of the society.
Dr. Oformata appreciated Governor Willie Obiano for maximally supporting the state Ministry of Social Welfare, Children and Women Affairs to ensure that the mandate of the Ministry is accomplished.
In a remark, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Disability Matters Barrister Chuks Ezewuzie who rated present Anambra State government as the most disabilities inclusive government in Nigeria, called on other Governors in the country to emulate Governor Willie Obiano's approach to the plights of the physically challenged persons in order to give them reasons to smile alongside other people in the society.
Barr. Ezewuzie further commended the wife of the state Governor, Dr. Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano whom he said has continued to touch lives of the persons living with disabilities in the state and beyond through her Non-Governmental organization, “The Caring Family Enhancement Initiative,” CAFE.
Delivering a lecture on Down Syndrome, a guest Speaker, Dr. Mrs. Prisca Nathaniel who described the genetic disorder as incurable, called on women to avoid under aged and old age pregnancies, that could lead to giving birth to children with down syndrome.
In a speech, the Director of Rehabilitation, Ministry of Social Welfare, Children and Women Affairs, Mr. Jude Nwakeme encouraged the beneficiaries of the empowerment intervention to put the equipment into proper use, and not to think of mortgaging them as the Ministry would not take it lightly with any body found in such acts.
Some of the beneficiaries including Lady Ifesinachi Udorji from Achalla in Awka North Council Area, and Mr. Paul Mmadubueze from Anaku in Ayamelum Local Government Area, thanked the state government for remembering them and promised to make judicious used of the equipment to better their lives and that of their families.