Blind School graduates 28
– Gets learning aids from Australian High Commission
As a way of narrowing the pool of virtually-impaired persons in the society, who resort to soliciting for alms as their mainstay, the Federal Nigeria Society for the Blind (FNSB), Oshodi, Lagos State, recently graduated 28 students from its vocational training centre.
The 63-year-old centre, which has churned out thousands of graduates, who are now gainfully employed, also received a donation of 10 braille machines, 10 computer sets, and 20 typewriters from the Kehinde Danmole Foundation, in partnership with the Australian High Commission.
The Chairman of FNSB, Folasade Adefisayo, disclosed that the centre, a privately run non-governmental organisation, relies on philanthropists and public-spirited individuals for funding.
According to Adefisayo, “In spite of the challenges posed by the state of the nation’s economy, as well as, donor fatigue, we will not relent in our efforts to ensure that we do the best for our students.
While thanking the foundation and the Australian High Commission for the donation, she called on “as many institutions and companies as possible to partner with us in order to ensure that we successfully rehabilitate the blind.”
Commenting on some programmes offered by the school, she said: “We have one to two-year training programmes for visually-impaired adults and adolescents in Braille reading and writing; handicrafts; soap making; home economics; music and dying.
The main purpose of the school is to rehabilitate and make the students independent citizens.
Founder, Kehinde Danmole Foundation and a trustee of FSNB, Major Kehinde Danmole (rtd) who retired as a major in the Nigeria Army in 1975 said, “all my life; I have never paid school fees. So, in 1970, I thought that I needed to have a foundation, and in 1982, I started involving myself in the cause of visually impaired persons conscious of the fact that whatever you have gained from the system, you must return it to the system.”
Over the years, the foundation has moved from strength to strength, and “in increasing our intake, we have to make the facility available, consequently, I spoke with my daughter who engaged her friends in the embassy, and the Australian High Commission also came to our aid.
Twenty-four-year-old Miriam Alhassan Galadima, one of the graduands who went blind at 19 while in her third year at the Gombe State University, said “I’ve learnt a lot from this centre. I learnt how to make beads, mobility skills, and music among others. The training I have received has empowered to stand on my own and work to sustain myself having dropped out of school due to poor knowledge of how to handle the situation that I found myself in. Now, I am planning to go back to my degree programme. My confidence level was very low when I came here, but the school brought out a lot of things in me, and I can advice those experiencing similar problems better on how to handle such cases and still be useful to themselves and society.
The Australian Deputy High Commissioner, Cleo Wilson, in his remarks, charged the Federal Government to expedite action on the signing of the Disability Bill into law, as that will go a long way in addressing the needs and yearnings of the physically challenged community in the country.
She added that signing the bill into law would go a long way in safeguarding the interest and hopes of over 25 million Nigerians, who are physically challenged.
Wilson added that the Australian High Commission would do its best in advancing the principles of fairness, justice, and the idea of inclusiveness of all persons irrespective of their abilities or disabilities everywhere in the world.