Voice of Disability Initiative (VDI) on Wednesday 5th May, 2021 in Yola, Adamawa organized a One (1) Day capacity-building training and mentorship for Women with Disabilities(WWDs) and high-risk marginalized groups in Adamawa state.

The event supported by UN Women Spotlight Initiative witnessed a large turnout of participants invited.

The VDI, Executive Director, Barrister Catherine Edeh in her brief welcome address encouraged WWDs not to see their disabilities as impediment or obstacle to their success.

“I became a lawyer, Dr. Ijeoma also pursued her dream of becoming a pediatrician in spite of our disabilities”. “If we can do it, you can also do it” she added.

Speaking further, she said that young girls getting pregnant prematurely is fast becoming prevalent in Adamawa state, destroying their future along the way, deprived them from pursuing their goals and other needs. Besides the health implication, the victim also faces social stigma.

She called to an end of such bad practice. She informed that this workshop (and those previously done) basically focused on enlightening the participants and hoping the knowledge acquired would practically be used. Educating girl requires the support of family, neighbors and community.

Dr. Ijeoma Nnodim made a presentation on self-empowerment, a first step in preventing GBV, IPV, in course of the presentation, she lamented that many PWDs have low desire toward self-empowerment. She showed a beautiful picture of physically challenged couple as well as that of VDI Executive Director with her compassionate and darling husband. The message she was passing across was the fact that duo couples became successful in all aspects of their lives due self-empowerment. Both of them demonstrated high desire in the pursuance of their goals.

She also pointed out some useful steps that one should adhere to diligently in order to achieve a set goal such as acquiring education, skills and a host of others.

She enjoined WWDs to do something for themselves as a surest way of making a better life. She suggested that humility is highly needed in that regard. To learn, humility plays a pivotal role.

“Action remains the critical factor. Thing learned without putting the acquired knowledge into use is of no use. Exercise is another factor. Do exercise regularly. Eat healthy food. Diabetes remain disastrous; thus avoid sugar. Keep learning by attending workshop of this sort” she added.

Dr. Ijeoma concluded by encouraging some speeches and series of questions. One significant comment came from CAN secretary who pointed economic factor as one of impediments to the success of self-empowerment.

With the above comment, Barrister Catherine recalled that VDI has been empowering PWDs and she urged those who have gotten the opportunities to make use of them. She charged them to come out boldly (not to hide) and seek for greater opportunities.

The Director, Rehabilitation representing the honourable commissioner of women affairs and social development highlighted the achievements of the ministry. Among them was securing employment opportunities for over 100 for PWDs. However, the claim was contested. Both the leadership of blind and deaf countered the so called employment that cannot be proven. They were skeptical. The Director further emphasized that the said number of employed PWDs in Adamawa started as far back as in 2005.

A participant urged ministry of women affairs and social development to intensify efforts to see the realization of Disability Rights Commission in Adamawa state. As the debate became intense, Barrister Kate intervened and remarked that everybody had a point.

She revealed that employing people (PWDs inclusive) often characterized with some problems. That allocation of job to PWDs often influenced by powers that be. She urged for cooperation between PWDs and Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development. She urged PWDs not rely so much on white collar job because it does not often guarantee financial success.

The event also with presentation from Blessing Ini on Presenting IPV and GBV against WWD; presenting a united front.

She spoke about what is a violence, be it domestic, sexual and any other. She spoke on what constitute a domestic violence and urged the participants to always report cases of domestic violence or other abuses to police because it is the right channel.

A highly creative and entrepreneurial blind man, Salisu Mohammed taught the participants the process of making soap seamlessly.

“Mix 10 chemicals together, pour all in a-20 litre bucket, after stirring the chemicals and leaving it for 24 hours to solidify to become soap” he explained.

There was group practical session, the participants were grouped into three to carry out some exercises to deepen their understanding on the knowledge shared.

One of the participants, the deaf women leader expressed her profound appreciation to VDI team for putting together a laudable project which geared towards promoting the self-reliance of Women with Disabilities (WWDs) in Adamawa State.

TQM learnt that event was attended by 31 participants who were mainly women with disabilities, leaders of disability community in Adamawa State and some stakeholders.

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