It was fun and excitement as Voice of Disability Initiative (VDI) celebrates 6th Anniversary on 1st May, 2021 in Abuja.

The event which was all about celebrating six years of existence of VDI as NGO founded to advocate for the inclusion of deaf people and persons with disabilities in general in our society, provided opportunity for friends, partners, beneficiaries and well-wishers of VDI who could not be at the event due to COVID-19 protocols to join via zoom.

Dr. Ijeoma Nnodim speaking on behalf of VDI appreciated all those that left their busy schedules and came in from different part of country to be part of the celebration. She informed that 72 months ago VDI was incorporated and its impact on the society has been remarkable.

VDI was a vision founded by Barrister Catherine Edeh, the vision was like a seed and it has grown into a big tree with many branches bringing succor to persons with disabilities especially women and children with disabilities.

She prays that VDI become a global force to reckon with when it comes to advocacy for disability inclusion.

The Founder of VDI, Catherine Edeh in a drama interview conducted by Izu Douglas a VDI volunteer and a deaf student of University of Ilorin, said that the whole idea of VDI came as result of the discrimination, stigma, neglect, and rejection she experienced growing up in the southeast after she lost her hearing.

She said that as soon as it was confirmed that she has lost her hearing, people started avoiding her, they always mocking her and at a time, she started isolating herself from major functions or occasions to avoid being mocked.

It later resulted to timidity, low self-esteem and confidence. She said that she was always on her own until she went to Uyo to acquire education at a special school. She saw other deaf people living beyond their disability and that was how she began to build strong self-esteem and she decided to study law at the University when she was to go the University. She said to herself that being a deaf person cannot hinder her dream of becoming a lawyer to fight for highly marginalized persons like herself.

It was at point when she was at University of Ilorin that she began to fight for the inclusion of persons with disabilities, challenging any injustice done to any person with disability and when she graduated, she thought on how she can contribute to ensure that an inclusive society is achieved.

That was how the vision of VDI came 6 years ago.Sharing her experience in running VDI, she said that initially, she thought it is what she can do alone and she have applied to so many grants by American grant making organizations thinking that as a Mandela Washington Fellow, it would be possible to get such grant.

The grant never came from there but they were given her other opportunities. She later tried other grant making organizations and built a team and that was the beginning of better things for VDI.

Now, VDI have gotten couple of grants and working assiduously to achieve Inclusion of persons with disabilities into Nigerian society.

Some volunteers shared their experiences working with VDI, they described VDI as a transparent organization, carrying everyone of them along and providing opportunity for every member of the team to learn.

The event also witnessed cutting of 6th Anniversary Cake which was done with some dignitaries such as Hon. Chidi Olujie, The National President, Nigerian National Association of the Deaf(NNAD), Lawrence Idemudia, Acting Director, Special Duties, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, Muyiwa Afolabi, Agbo Christian, Executive Director, The Qualitative Magazine, Ebuka Okeke, Executive member, NNAD, Susan Kelechi Executive Member, JONAPWD Lagos State Chapter, members of VDI team and some members of Deaf Community.

TQM is celebrating VDI and their achievement and we are wishing VDI and pray that together we will achieve an inclusive society.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top