Mofolusho Liasu: I’m teaching parents how to accept and love special kids
An amazing lawyer, advocate, businesswoman and mother, Mofolusho Liasu is the founder of Super Parents Foundation. Through her NGO, she supports, educates, raises awareness about disability myths and truths. She equally organises skills acquisition programmes to help indigents become more self-reliant. Through this initiative, assistive aids such as wheelchairs, walkers, and scholarships are given to some children with disabilities.
Super Parents Foundation hosts over 500 children yearly to mark the Children’s Day celebration and promote social inclusion, bringing together both children with disabilities and able-bodied kids. Aside educating individuals on the need to show empathy and compassion to people with disabilities, Folusho’s foundation fights for children with disabilities to be included in mainstream schools and to have access to other social benefits. She shares her inspiring journey in this interview with Esther Ijewere.
I won’t say no, though I never considered it until I was reminded. My best friend in secondary school was a girl with polio; I became close to her because I discovered she was enjoying the pitiful attention. I believe she was more than that and so I discouraged her from getting carried away by the pity from others. I insisted we must do things ourselves without the help of others. We would fetch water together, wash clothes etc. without anyone’s help. She became bold and always showcased her abilities whenever it was necessary. She became the social prefect and received many awards.
We came across each other recently through our Alumni platform and she told me God used her to prepare me for this; it didn’t occur to me till she mentioned it.
While growing up, I hated children being bullied or discriminated against based on status or for whatever reasons. So, I can say that could be a factor. I have never discriminated between a child with a disability and one without; everyone was the same to me.
I also remember I was 10 years or thereabouts when my dad took me for his friend’s birthday party and I noticed the other son was kind of bullied by his father; it was obvious the boy was different. I saw how the mum was showing her displeasure on how he is been treated by his dad. I remember I was very upset with his dad and sad for the boy. That scene stuck to my head for years, but I never thought of it making me the advocate I am today, but I guess subconsciously, it did.
Inspiration Behind Super Parents Foundation
Like I said earlier, I am passionate and also aspire to change wrong social narratives to positives; advocating for care and support for vulnerable persons and protection for victims or abused. I came across a story about a group; a mother, her deaf child who needed a hearing aid, which costs N1million. I never knew assistive gadgets like that were so expensive. It led me to inbox her and we became very close. I got to find out the sufferings and discriminations she had to go through from her family, in-laws and society. That led me to advocating for these vulnerable parents.
From there, I formed a support group on Facebook called Super Parents for parents to speak their mind and share their experience, to get comfort and support from others experienced parents and supporters.
The group grew and became very alive and it was registered as an NGO two years ago and it has been working strong since then.
Impact Of Super Parents Foundation Since Inception
The foundation has become a strong platform for everyone; it’s an inclusive foundation, which supports vulnerable persons, especially persons and children with disabilities; widows are also supported too. The foundation has a Facebook platform where people are free to speak their mind without fear of discrimination.
People learn and unlearn about many issues such as disabilities, pregnancy, marriage and different issues affecting everyone. Inclusive events like children’s parties are organized; the children have fun and empathy is the order of the day. Our slogan ‘Let Love Lead’ is also a leading factor for us; this directs us to respect everyone equally.
We have so many testimonies from our members and even persons in the society. Parents of children with special needs no longer hide their children or the facts that they have children with special needs; they boldly advocate for other children with special needs against discrimination, also canvassing support for them. Since the advent of Super Parents Foundation, parents boldly celebrate their children with disabilities online on their birthdays and other occasions to inspire others.
This was a very uncommon practice before now.
The Plight Of Children Living With Disability, And The Role Of The Society And Government
Honestly, there has been great development when it comes to the support for persons and children with special needs in this country, especially in Lagos State. But we are still far from near perfect; they need support everyday from education to medical, accessibility, infrastructure, etc. Once the country moves to development, everything, including the disability community will be affected positively.
A lot is not applied rightly; from infrastructure or buildings that are not accessible for wheelchairs, to lack of origin language interpreters in public places, roads which are bad for wheelchairs to public special and inclusive schools that are not up to standard, to poor medical facilities for their, so much more. Like I said earlier, we have a long way to go.
Challenges Of My Work
The Inability of the parents and the society to accept their children with disabilities; it’s a big issue. These children are subjected to cruel treatment by relatives, native doctors, and religious homes.
Funds – The work is cumbersome and we have low support compared to the task to be tackled.
Poverty – Most of these vulnerable persons and children cannot afford the basic and managing disability in Nigeria is expensive, so they suffer so much from hunger to lack of adequate medical care.
Other Projects And Activities
We have lots of projects and activities. One of the biggest events is the Inclusive Children’s Party. The children have fun, not minding their condition. Assistive gadgets etc are given out on such days.
Empowerment – We empower members with skill acquisition training and also provide tools or provide them with minimal capital funds to help them start their business. We also engage in online projects to stimulate the parents to be able to help their children without much fund or assistance needed.
Women Who Inspire Me And Why
To be honest, it won’t be fair to mention any names; from my mother to my friends, to supporters, to mothers with special needs, widows, to the woman on the street or the one I watch on TV or online… they all inspire me. Up to 99 per cent of my supporters, donors, volunteers are all women; they all inspire me to keep pushing.
Life Lessons That Inspire Me
“You cannot give what you don’t have” – I cannot give love if I don’t have it; I cannot give strength to the vulnerable if I don’t have it too. So, sometimes, I sit down to reflect, and then refill myself spiritually, physically and financially so as to give my best to those I serve.
“What you appreciate cannot depreciate” – I love appreciating people, and also value my supporters and lovers. I believe I increase my values and theirs when I appreciate the love and kindness they show me.
Being A Woman Of Rubies
Because I choose to see myself not just as an ordinary woman, but a woman with vision and goals with God’s given ability to execute them, to impact myself and the world at large. To God be the glory.
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