This is one of the days when I am very weary to respond to the nudges of my conscience to hit the keyboards of my phone to ventilate my thoughts. Yet, it is a day I am compelled by the importance of the matter of my heart to heed the nudges anyway…anyhow…all the same…
In 2014, we completed our research work on children, living with so-called disability in Africa and disseminated same and thereafter released an audio program on same. We found an African culture with deep-seated misconception about so-called disability. We found that the root cause of our misconception is our general lack of respect for dignity of human person.
We found that there is no credible state-funded-social service support system for children with any form of so-called disability, particularly those from poor families.
Due to our myopia as a people of demonizing whatever we consider negative and we cannot explain, we see any form of so-called disability as a curse, misfortune or punishment from God. Therefore, when children are born with any form of so-called disability or they suffer same after birth, the parents and relatives are faced with an uphill task of supporting the child to live a normal life in an abnormal society and above all relate with the opprobrium and stigma that comes with same.
It is against this backdrop that we agree with UNICEF that the real disability is not that a child cannot see, walk or hear, it is the attitude of the society which excludes or stigmatizes the child.
In my contribution at the International Conference on Inclusive Education in Africa, held in South Africa by the British Council, last month, I opined that we must embark on a rigorous reorientation of our belief and perception as Africans on the subject of disability. I proposed that such campaign is not only foundational but a prerequisite to any form of meaningful and result-oriented local and international intervention.
It is in the light of the foregoing that I salute the visionary of The Irede Foundation, for taking up the gauntlet of raising awareness and providing support for children without limbs. I support with unalloyed passion the mission of the organization to get the members of the society to support the noble mission of providing prosthetics(artificial limbs) for children without natural limbs.
Of more importance to me is the fact that they are bringing the debate on children living with disability to the fore, with a view to reorienting members of the society, rising above the shame and stigma, having been inspired to start the organization due to their experience with their first daughter, Beulah, who is also on a prosthetics.
Information on how you can support the cause is found on http://www.theiredefoundation.org
Yesterday, my wife and I joined #teamikoyi on #Outonalimb walk because the message must the drawn home, in the words of Scott Hamilton that ‘the only disability in life is bad attitude.’ In our social dictionary, there is no such word like disability. Same has been replaced with the word, #Thisability as championed by UNICEF. Thisability refers to uncommon ability, which an uninformed and limited society refers to and treat as disability.
Here I rest my case. Do have an INSPIRED week.
I am Taiwo AKINLAMI and I remain Sober on my knees on this LORD’S day.
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