It is a fact that people with disabilities are as valuable as any other individual. They are moms, dads, sons, daughters, employers, employees, scientists, friends, neighbors, movie stars, leaders and followers, students and teachers. They are people. The community of persons with disabilities is the largest minority group in our country. It includes people of both genders and from all religions, ethnic backgrounds, and socioeconomic levels. About the only things people with disabilities have in common with one another are 1) having a body function that operates differently and 2) often encountering prejudice and discrimination.
Without doubt, the problems facing people with disabilities in this country are enormous and these are militating against their productivity and performance. These problems call for the campaign to sensitize government and enlighten the populace to create conducive atmosphere for social and economic integration of persons with disabilities. Some of these problems as mentioned by COSMAS I. B. OKOLI in an article: THE PLIGHT OF DISABLED NIGERIANS AND THE NEED FOR MASS ENLIGHTENMENT (http://www.maardec.net) are carefully highlighted below;
- Job Opportunities: People with disabilities in Nigeria are denied job opportunities even when they are most qualified. This is serious discrimination against them in the employment market. Some people ignorantly believe that PWDs need not work because of the trouble they will go through. These people forget that working is an essential life activity even for people with disabilities; this is a misdirected consideration for them. There have been reported cases where candidates with disabilities sat for written interviews, had the highest score but denied employment because the management ‘’humanely’’ think they will not be able to cope.
There are so many graduates of high qualifications roaming the streets because they have been denied the opportunity of competition. Some of them have been out rightly told to forget about some jobs when they reported. All these crimes are committed not because people are wicked, but because of their ignorance of the yearnings and aspirations of persons with disabilities. Therefore, the general public needs to know what they can do for their special brothers and sisters without jeopardizing their right to life. More so, special people working in some organizations today have been found to be very efficient and perform maximally in their duties.
Thus, if relevant areas are made accessible to people with disabilities, they can learn vocation and set up their own business.
- Social interaction: Many negative attitudes of the general public towards persons with disabilities are borne out of ignorance. In fact, efforts of many people at alleviating the suffering of these people are usually misdirected. If people feel and argue that they should not work, but be confined to institutions to be fed, clothed and catered for, notwithstanding the good intention, it is still discrimination. Why? Because people with disabilities want to live in the society and contribute their own quota to the overall development of the country.
Let’s give them a chance! Let’s believe in them!! Together, we all can do it even better!!!