By Uchechukwu Enem
There has been an increase on how Persons with Disabilities are helping one another to survive the harsh economy and the Covid 19 Pandemic. The Anambra State Office of the Governor on Disability Matters, led by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Disability Matters, Barr. Chukwuka Ezewuzie, has pledged his support to the Managing Director of Deaf Scrapping & Plastic Mixing Industry, Mr. Stanley Ozuruoha, during a visit to his industry at Awada, Onitsha on 10 July 2020.
According to Mama Ozuruoha, Mr. Ozuruoha has been into the business since his early childhood and was not born with any disabilities. Fides gathered that Mr. Ozuruoha is presently empowering over 25 deaf people by providing employment opportunities for them.
Mr. Ozuruoha recounted how he went through tough times during the
kickoff of his business; adding that it was not easy to start up the business with other deaf people. One remarkable thing about Mr. Ozuruoha’s industry is that he got beggars off the street and made people who had unwanted pregnancies to join the business to earn honest money.
Although, Mr. Stanley attested that his company enjoys about 16 hours power supply each day, the challenge of paying EEDC bills has been one of the biggest challenges, noting that his industry was indebted to a tune of 2million Naira to EEDC already. He said that his industry has back log of works to be crushed but because of the unavailability of enough crushing machines, the challenge keeps lingering. He said that his industry
was being threatened by massive erosion and pleaded for help. Mr. Ozuruoha pleaded for support from both government and individuals to assist him in helping his family and helping the families of his team members.
In response, Barr. Ezewuzie who was so impressed on Mr. Ozuruoha’s abilities and skills, thanked him for engaging into a meaningful livelihood. In a special way, he thanked him for pulling people from different angles to provide them a dignified source of living. Barr. Ezewuzie promised to support him and make his achievements known very well. He promised to partner with Anambra State Small Business Agency (ASSBA) on ways to facilitate loans to support entrepreneurs with disabilities.
In his words, ‘The Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, will be very impressed to see what you have done. We are working to see how best possible you are encouraged, either by ways of relocation or making your industry conducive. We will work hard to see that this business continues because you are not just taking care of your family but other families that depend on the salary you give to them. We have sent your plea to EEDC for intervention. We cannot promise you too much, but we can make a very good effort to ensure your business keeps running’ Barr Ezewuzie added
In an interview with Fides, His wife, Mrs. Uju Ozuruoha, thanked the Office of the Governor on Disability Matters for coming to their aid. She told Fides how she has defended her husband against theft in the industry and how she has been harassed, insulted because of that. According to her, she married Mr. Stanley Ozuruoha because of his inner beauties and capabilities such as honesty, hard work, generosity and meekness.
According to Mr. Amobi Nwagwu (Chairman of Anambra State Association of the Deaf) Speaking through the Special Assistant to the Governor on Sign Language Communication, Mr. Collins Joseph, noted that there were other entrepreneurs with disabilities in Anambra State striving to make a living. He added that efforts were being made to encourage them in their respective businesses. It should be noted that the duo were involved in the interpretation and translation of messages in the visit to the Deaf Scrapping & Plastic Mixing Industry.
During the visit, Mr. Ifeanyi Chukwuma who heads the Marketing and Distribution Department took the Special Adviser and his team through the various stages involved in the plastic recycling processes as well as explaining the various departments that make up the company which include Scavengers, Washers & Machinery Operators, Admin and Transportation/ Marketing Departments.