Society for the Blind graduates 35
About 35 persons have graduated from the Federal Nigeria Society for the Blind (FNSB), with skills in mobility, Braille reading, typewriting and computer literacy among others for self-employment and educational advancement.
In line with this year’s theme for the international day for persons with disability focuses on the promotion and participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership in society.
FNSB Chairman, Olugbolahan Sobande, congratulated the graduates for working hard and persevering.
He recalled that in May 1955, FNSB was established as a voluntary non-governmental organisation set up to rehabilitate and train people who go blind in adolescence or adulthood.
He said in 1966, FNSB established this Vocational Training Centre for the Blind with the primary objective of providing an institution to educate and empower visually-impaired people, giving them opportunities to pursue their various ambitions either academically or through entrepreneurial training.
Since 1956, FNSB has trained over 3000 blind men and women, and assisted them to acquire skills in mobility, Braille reading and writing, typewriting, computer literacy (using software called JAWS), music, tie and dye, beaded bag making, basket weaving, and various crafts towards self-employment and educational advancement.
Sobande said: “We are proud of our former trainees, some of whom have gone on to institutions such as University of Lagos, Obafemi Awolowo University, and National Open University etc. We have also employed some ex trainees as teaching staff. Others have gone on to win medals at the Paralympics (2015). Some work for international agencies and blue-chip companies such as the United Nations, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Sight Savers etc, while others have become business owners and employers of labour, after acquiring vocational skills from the VTC.
“According to our vision at FNSB and the VTC is to become a world class model for breaking down barriers affecting the blind. Our mission is to ensure sustainable and collaborative support for the blind by advocating for, rehabilitating, empowering the blind and working to prevent blindness.”
He disclosed that 2019 has been the most financially-challenging year for FNSB, saying: “We are experience rising cost of living and an ever-increasing expenditure base, which include the maintenance of ageing facilities, high electricity bills etc, and at the same time, donor fatigue. The Society has been in some crisis and we need financial support.
“As for long-term sustainability, we are already considering partnering with blue-chip organizations, taking advantage of legislation that mandates the employment of five percent from the disable community. We would like to encourage Government to consider incentives and sanctions to ensure compliance towards more inclusiveness in the workforce and society at large as diverse as it may be; indeed, promote diversity and inclusiveness.
“We are becoming more active in the area of advocacy for the blind. This year, FNSB has provided the impetus for Lagos State House of Assembly to re-consider the Lagos State Special People’s Law and start the process of deepening its legislation for the disable. The white navigate our roads without fear of being injured or exploited. Olugbolahan Sobande appreciated all the successive Lagos State governments . Our new modern workshop was funded by Lagos Government Our request to government is that consideration be given to fully funding educational Institutions for the disable the same way it does for the Able. Government may consider allocating five percent of its education budget for the disabled, partnering with institutions like FNSB, to train and develop them.”
In her goodwill message, Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo, advised the graduates to be good ambassadors of the school, and promised that in her tenure the special persons would be well-considered in the state’s programmes and policies.
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