No fewer than 2,000 Persons Living With Disabilities, PWDs recently received financial support from the Lagos State Government, while several physically challenged persons were given assistive devices ranging from Wheelchairs, Guide Canes, Hearing Aids, Motorised Wheelchairs, Cerebral Palsy Chairs, Braille Embossers and Laptops, among others.
Governor Sanwo-Olu made the presentation to the beneficiaries at the year 2022 Disability Entrepreneurship and Empowerment programme, tagged: “Transformative Solutions for Inclusive Development: The Role of Innovation In Fuelling Accessible And Equitable World”, in commemoration of the International Day of Persons with Disability held at LTV premises, Agidingbi, Ikeja.
According to him, 1000 PWDs with entrepreneurial skills will get financial assistance to help build the capacity of their businesses, while 500 vulnerable and 500 elderly Persons Living with Disabilities will also receive financial empowerment from the State Government.
The Governor, represented at the event by the Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr. Segun Dawodu noted that one of the policy directions of his administration is to create a sustainable environment for everyone to thrive and live a meaningful life regardless of disability status.
He recalled that from inception, the State Government had been focusing on policies and programmes tailored towards leaving no one behind, adding that the policy of inclusivity remains pivotal to good governance in Lagos State. He also assured that his administration will not rest on its oars until a major difference is recorded in the welfare of Persons Living with Disabilities (PWDs) in Lagos State.
Speaking on the Assistive Devices, Sanwo-Olu maintained that the devices play a central role in social policy as they reduce barriers between people with disabilities and their environments, stressing that they bring about freedom of movement and ease of access such that PWDs can live a fulfilled life without limitations.
While noting that the empowerment initiative is in line with his administration’s goal to make Lagos State an inclusive society that leaves no one behind regardless of age, status or disability, Sanwo-Olu expressed the hope that the interventions would encourage people with disabilities to live wholesome lives while also contributing to society.
He also used the occasion to call on parents, guardians and members of society to stop the discrimination against people with disabilities, stressing that most PWDs are very active and resourceful in their areas of expertise, despite their disability status.
In his words: “Rather than discriminate against them, we should educate and encourage them properly to be the best version of themselves. Let us join hands to create a favourable environment for PWDs by recognising their talents and creativity while looking beyond their conditions to recognise their potential”.
“By giving them equal opportunities, we are helping them improve their confidence which provides the needed platform to contribute positively to themselves and the society at large”, he added.
The General Manager of the Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs (LASODA), Mr. Dare Ogundairo, said that this year’s Disability Entrepreneurship and Empowerment Programme focuses on the distribution of necessary assistive devices and issuance of grants to the various PWD clusters, Homes and PWD organisations in the State.
Revealing that the distribution of entrepreneurship and empowerment funds for PWDs was in line with the Disability Law of Lagos State, Ogundairo said some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are also being catered for by the State Government in addition to clusters of PWDs.
The LASODA General Manager commended the Sanwo-Olu administration for ensuring that no one is left behind, while he assured all PWDs in the State that their welfare will continue to be a top priority.