15-year-old physically challenged student, others recount experiences after receiving artificial limbs
A 15-year-old Junior Secondary (JSS)1 student of The Tower Comprehensive College, Ogun State, Lekan Olusesi, who lost his limb at age six after falling into a pit, has recounted his experience after receiving prosthetic limbs.
An elated Olusesi, said with the new limbs, her hope in life has been rekindled.
“Now I can do so many things. I can fight, play football, dance and run. When I lost my limb, I felt so bad and thought all hope was lost, but now, I am happy.”
The teenager, who was one of the recipients of artificial limbs from The Irede Foundation (TIF), in partnership with the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited, and Shell Nigeria Exploration Company Limited (NNPC/SNEPCo), said he can now follow his passion, which is to play football with his peers.
For 13-year-old Chinedu Nwankwo, a Senior Secondary (SS1) student of Rhema Royal School, who lost his limb in a car accident last year,
said he can confidently interact with his peers.
These were the testimonies of over 20 children amputees, who got a new lease of life through the NNPC/SNEPCo Back to School Project.
The project, which started in 2018, is aimed at reducing the number of out-of-school children with disabilities, and increasing the inclusion of persons with disabilities.
Speaking at the project handover in Lagos, Chief Upstream Investment Officer, NNPC Upstream Investment Management Services (NUIMS), Bala Wunti, represented by Deputy Manager, External Affairs, NIUMS, Bunmi Lawson, expressed gratitude that they can support child amputees and equip them with tools that would help overcome obstacles and assist in pursuing their dreams.
“The gift of mobility and independence is immeasurable, and it’s something many of us often take for granted.”
However, today, as we hand over these prosthetic limbs to these young souls, we are reminded of the incredible strength, resilience, and boundless potential that reside within each of them.
“Our mission is not just to provide physical support, but to empower these children to reach for the stars. With these prosthetics, we are giving them the wings to fly, the legs to run, and the confidence to embrace life’s challenges head-on,” he added.
Managing Director, NNPC, Elohor Aiboni, reeling out the partnership’s achievements, said they have empowered child amputees, distributed copies of the ‘Iredian’ comic book, a tool to advocate for children living with disabilities.
They also provided an upgraded orthotic device and mobility aid to a young teacher, enabling him to continue teaching and inspiring his pupils, promoting inclusion through direct and indirect outreach to millions of people with the Out on A Limb Walk, and upgraded TIF Prosthetic Limb Centre for conducive limb production, fitting, and rehabilitation process.
She added that the children not only attended school, but excelled academically, underscoring the profound impact of the partnership.
Executive Director, TIF, Crystal Chigbu, said the project has provided access to quality inclusive education, restored dreams, and the possibilities now available to child amputees.
According to her, over the last five years, the project has given 25 limbs to 20 students, while working with over 414 amputees for the past 11 years.
She, however, noted that more work has to be done to ensure that needless amputations are prevented.
“The work has only just begun, I am looking forward to transforming more lives, restoring hope, and working together to create a more inclusive society,” she said.
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