By Hassan Zaggi
The Wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, has appealed to philanthropists, local and international corporate bodies, stakeholders and well-meaning Nigerians to support in the provision of technological tools to ease the learning of the physically challenged children in Nigeria.
She expressed confidence that, with the needed support, people with one form of disability or the other can contribute immensely to the growth and development of the country.
Mrs Buhari stated this at the closing ceremony of a week-long training programme for teachers of children with Special Needs at the School for the Handicapped, Kuje, Abuja, on Friday.
Represented by the National Coordinator of her pet project- Future Assured Programme, Dr. Kamal Abdurrahman Muhammad, the wife of the president lamented that there are huge gaps, “especially in the use of modern technological tools,” in the training of the physically challenge children in Nigeria.
She, therefore, called on stakeholders and philanthropists to refocus and redirect their attention and energies towards ameliorating their plight.
“Everywhere in the world, children with physical or mental disabilities are confronted with learning difficulties, but they need to reach their full potential and contribute to national development.
“There are highly specialized institutions and facilities to cater for their special needs, but for these institutions to function effectively, they need appropriate infrastructure, highly trained teachers and modern teaching tools,” she said.
According to her, the Aisha Buhari Foundation (ABF), has the vision of improving the health and social status of women and children in Nigeria, reiterating that “education being one of the priority areas. ABF is focusing on special education in line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3, which is about leaving no one behind.”
Mrs Buhari revealed that the need to ensure that no Nigerian child is left behind led to the partnership of her NGO with Nika Project to train teachers on the use of modern technological tools.
She, therefore, charged the teachers to impact what they have learnt to the children so that they can be useful to themselves, their families and the country at large.
Speaking earlier, a facilitators from Nika Project, Dan Philips, expressed happiness with the rate of absorption by the teachers. He noted that the teachers quickly adapted to the modern tools that were taught to them, and charged them to go back to their classrooms and impart the knowledge gained to their children. He called for the expansion of the project to cover teachers in all parts of the country.
On his part, another facilitator, Dr. Shola Faniran, a UAE- based Developmental Pediatrician, pointed out that the rate of disability in Nigeria is huge with 15% of all 5 – 15 year -old children in Nigeria having some form of disability or the other.
She advocated for the need to engage these category of Nigerians with knowledge and skills early enough so as to reduce the impact of the disability.
The training was attended by teachers from the School for the Handicapped, School for the Blind, School for the Deaf, Autism Center, and Institute for the Disabled.