It was a special day of celebration for inmates of Our Lady of Compassion Special School, St. John De Evangelist Parish Okpaugwu, Abakaliki, as they celebrate World Disability Day on Sunday, 1st December, 2019.
The celebration which took place on Sunday 1st December started with thanksgiving during the 9am mass officiated by Msgr. PatrickMary Muo who encouraged the elite in the state to invest in the People Living with Disability (PLWD) in order to better their lots.
Speaker of Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Hon. Ogbonnaya Nwifuru, UBEB Chairman Hyacinth Ikpor, Hon. Idu Igariwe (represented), Prof Adaeze Nwauzor, were among the dignitaries who graced the occasion.
The School Administrator, Sister Joy Oti while speaking with Citizens’ Advocate explained that the centre was celebrating World Disability Day, 2019, for all the physically challenged persons in the special school and other disabled persons in the state.
She said the centre is housing about 87 inmates and appealed to the government to lend hands of support to them so that they can relocate to the permanent site where greater potentials in them will be properly harnessed.
According to her, the inmates are not disabled. They have many things they can do very well. Inmates who have mental problem such as Autistic children have one thing they can do well.
She said, “These children need help, they are not supposed to pay school fees. The temporary site we are using is not conducive, we have a permanent site and if we can give them a conducive environment, they can learn more. There is no road at the permanent site located at Ikelegu Community, Ishieke; and the security, we need to fence the school, so we can’t take the children to open place to avoid external attack.”
The Member Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Chairman of the occasion, Hon. Chris Usulor, in a remark, noted that the inmates are stronger than those who are not challenged in the society and called for government support to improve their welfare.
The Speaker, State House of Assembly, Hon Francis Ogbonnaya Nwifuru, represented by Hon. Chinedu Onah in his submission urged the students to put in their best in their studies, especially in skill development, stressing that the challenge is not a limit to what God has destined them to be in life.
The Speaker commended the Catholic Church for housing the children and encouraged parents of children with disability to support them to become successful in life.
A lecturer, Ebonyi State University, Dr. Bet Oluka, in a lecture advocated for free education and scholarship for children living with disability in the country, pointing out that education is the only way light would come into their lives.
The Headmaster of Our Lady of Compassion Special School, Mr. John Lekpa, in welcome address called for provision of social amenities and speech therapy tools for the school inmates.
Mr. Lekpa stated that Our Lady of Compassion Special School for handicapped and under privileged is a charitable organization which focused on educational development of children with special needs like: the speech and hearing impaired persons, physically deformed children, severely learning disabled children, cerebral palsy (CP), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASR), Down Syndrome and Vulnerable Adults and called on parents with such kids to enroll them into the school.
Highlights of the event was the unveiling of the children’s products, fashion display by the hearing impaired children and cultural dance.