The Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Idiat Oluranti Adebule, and the Wife of the Governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode both joined hundreds of pupils and students to celebrate the 11th International Day for Persons Living with Disabilities (PWDs) at the Blue Roof, LTV 8, Agidingbi- Ikeja.
Speaking at the event, the Deputy Governor said that the theme of this year’s celebration “transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all” was in tandem with the inclusive governance mantra of the current administration in the State.
She noted that in fulfillment of Governor Ambode’s promise to assist people living with disabilities to realize their dreams and live a more comfortable life, the administration is determined not to leave this category of people to alms-begging but rather assist and integrate them to be self- reliant and contribute their quota to the socio-economic development of the State.
“In pursuit of this goal, the Lagos State Government employed 250 physically challenged people into the mainstream of the State and Local Government Service Commission and presented Assistive devices, Vehicles and Empowerment grants to 2,000 PWDs during the year” Adebule stated.
She disclosed that to increase the number of employable PWDs in the future, the government embarked on mass mobilization and public enlightenment to have challenged children enrolled in special and inclusive schools.
According to her, the enlightenment resulted in increased enrollment from 1049 students in 2015 to 2661 in the current year while the government has increased the number of schools to meet the increasing demand.
Adebule said the government is excited that physically challenged children are reciprocating the gesture of government by participating in competitions and winning medals.
“Our challenged children won the Gold Medal in Floor Hockey and Silver Medal in Floor Ball at the 2017 Special Olympic Winters Game in Austria,” she said.
Speaking as Special Guest of Honour at the occasion, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode urged people living with disabilities not to feel rejected or dejected as the government of Lagos State is determined to help them achieve their full potentials.
The theme of this year’s celebration, according to her, sought to increase awareness of the gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.
She implored all parents of this category of children to register them in the special schools and urged adult PLWD to also register with the Lagos State Office of Disability Affairs (LASODA) to benefit from the various programmes put in place make life more meaningful for them.
“There is no point hiding because of physical challenges, all parents who have challenged children should not see them as a bad omen, they are created specially by God Almighty to achieve specific purposes. They are not destined to be beggars, they are capable of living independently if assisted to acquire requisite skills” Mrs. Ambode said.