A former Lagos State first lady, Dame Abimbola Fashola, has urged corporate organisations and philanthropists to help to develop the physically challenged persons in the society.
Fashola, a member of the Bord of Trustees, Federal Nigeria Society for the Blind, made the appeal while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the 24th annual inter-house sports competition of the Vocational Training Centre for the blind (VTC), Oshodi.
The sports competition held at the Yaba College of Technology Sports Centre on Thursday.
She said that if the society at large failed to help them to acquire skills, they would become a menace.
“I guess because we are not yet enlightened, because usually the things that have to do with the physically challenged should have everyone on board.
“If we do not take care of them and we do not allow them to acquire the right skills and tools for them to be able to sustain themselves and contribute their quota, they will become a menace and we will all suffer for it.
“So, it is not just for the corporate bodies but every individual to support them and be there for the physically-challenged,” she said.
She also said that rather than give those physically- hallenged begging on the streets alms, it would be better to empower them.
“People who really want to help should stop giving those of them begging on the streets money but give them a skill and they will be better off,” she said.
Parents should not write-off their physically-challenged children, but rather should encourage them.
Fashola, also the Chairman of Leadership Empowerment and Resource Network, urged parents not to write-off their children, saying that it would not do anyone good.
“For parents, mothers like me who have children who are physically challenged, I am pleading with you to bring them out, let them get the right tools because we will not live forever.
“We need to teach them how to fend for themselves, how to be useful to themselves and the society so that they can contribute their own quota to society’s development.
“What I mean by this is that let them learn a trade, they must be able to understand what is going on around them, once they can get this, they will be financially capable.
“They will be able to live a good life,” the former first lady said.
Reacting to the 24th inter-house of the vocational training centre, she said that she was impressed, as the students proved that their was ability in their disability.
“We are the ones seeing their disabilty, with the way they performed, they behaved just like the able-bodied, even better. They gave it their best and I was really impressed.
“Kudos to the management of the school, their teachers, coaches, they have really shown them love,” she said.
NAN reports that Blue House won the inter-house sports with a total of 80 points and Red House was second with 63 points.