Groups empower disabled persons with agricultural training
The President Star Children Development Initiative (SCDI), Mrs. Grace Alexander Abimbola, made the call at the launch of an initiative profiled, “StarAgrability” in partnership with International Institute of Tropical Agricultural (IITA) and Ajoke Ayisat Afolabi Foundation (AAAF) in Lagos recently.
She explained that governments should also collaborate with organizations to provide several programme for the citizenry to empower disabled people and not marginalized them in the society.
Abimbola disclosed that the StarAgrability project, a five year plan, aimed to involve and promote youth with disability in agriculture through comprehensive training from IITA, as team work, coaching, mentorship. They would also have access to loans and we hope to create an online shopping platform to assist them sell their finished products among others.
The disabled trainees have been undergoing intensive training at IITA on agro-business, crop production, animal husbandry, cassava processing for baking and pastry making, among others to meet local sustenance and global trends.
As a parent of a disabled child, Abimbola knows the plights of families, but urged them to support, care and love the disabled ones saying there is ‘ability in disability’.
She pointed out that nobody should discriminate them as a result of their disability, but rather there is need for engaging, enabling and empowering them through agriculture to become entrepreneurs and asset to themselves and the society.
On her part, the Executive Coordinator, Ajoke Ayisat Afolabi Foundation, Mrs. Foluke Ademokun, said: “The Foundation will continue to partner with Star Children Development Initiative to empower Persons living with disability and other vulnerable persons. Apart from assisting widows and orphans, the Foundation also has support for the blinds and other groups.”
Ademokun argued that youths with disabilities have competences, creative potentials, assets and skills that are grossly undervalued and utilized due to stigma and should not be left behind in developmental efforts.
She observed that discrimination is common and described it as a form exclusion or restriction on the basis of disability, which deny them the recognition and enjoyment on equal basis with others.