By Emeka Nwokocha
Against the backdrop of the compelling demand for capacity development of people living with disabilities in the Niger Delta region, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), on Tuesday 9 April, 2019 commenced a 14-day skills acquisition training and empowerment programme for the physically challenged persons in Delta State.
The skills acquisition training, which took place at Charles David Lot Hotel, Airport Road, Warri, headquarters of Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State, rounded off on Friday 26 April, 2019, with public affairs commentators describing the initiative as a progressive step to lift the physically challenged persons out of poverty occasioned by the harsh economic trends in Nigeria.
The beneficiaries were trained on bead making; auto-gele (head tie artistry); mobile phone repairs; photography; confectionaries (cake, chin-chin, candies and sausages); make-up, manicure and pendicure; shoe, bag and sandals production; wig production and other vocations.
Speaking to journalists at the ceremony that marked the end of the programme, Coordinator of the NDDC skill acquisition training programme for Delta State, Mrs. Rachael Misan Ruppee, said that the scheme was targeted at giving the people living with disabilities a sense of belonging, stressing that it was in line with the core mandate of NDDC to facilitate rapid and sustainable development of the Niger Delta region, of which the physically challenged persons are bona fide stakeholders.
Ruppee added that the skill giving programme was comprehensive, noting that competent and experienced trainers were recruited to provide hands-on training to the beneficiaries, so that they could acquire vocational skills and proceed to starting their own business to eke a living, rather than depending on people for soccour or handout.
“The programme was designed to provide hands-on training on skills acquisition to the physically challenged persons in Delta State to jump-start their economic prosperity and make them self reliant” she stated.
Continuing, Ruppee said that the programme had made huge impact on the participants, noting that some of them had developed capacity to make money from what they have been able to produce with their hands even before the end of programme.
She commended NDDC for promoting the wellbeing of the people living with disability, even as she expressed optimism that more of the skill giving training programmes would be sponsored by NDDC in the near future. She noted that the training programme took place across the Niger Delta region concurrently.
“Many of the participants didn’t have any skills when they came here (the training centre, Charles David Lot Hotel), but within a period of 14 days the training lasted, virtually all of them have learned at least one skill to kick-start a progressive economic life,” Ruppee emphasised.
The beneficiaries could not hold back their joy as they expressed gratitude to the management of NDDC for giving them the rare opportunity to acquire work skills most needed to enhance their economic wellbeing in the face of the economic tumbledown bedevilling the country over the years.
Mr. Endurance Otoibhi, one of the beneficiaries who have been trained on how to repair mobile phones, thanked NDDC for the empowerment and skill acquisition training scheme. He was confident of his capacity to run a mobile phone repair shop and earn quality living.
In the same vein, a female beneficiary, Kevwe Ebireri lauded NDDC for the initiative, saying, “I have learned how to tie a phancy head-tie popularly known as auto-gele, and I have started making money with my skills while on the training.”
Another set of beneficiaries, Perfect Anthony, Hope Obodo, Patience Ogbe, Aghogho Anderson, and Emmanuel Bolo, praised NDDC for giving them the opportunity to learn how to make wigs, bags, shoes, and beads.
Another beneficiary, Mr. Ernest Igbuzo, South-South Coordinator of people living with disability, and Mr. Friday Otobo, thanked NDDC and the state Cordinator of the programme for making the training a success, while noting its importance in improving the lives of the physically challenged people in Delta State.
One of the exciting moments of the training sessions was the case of a male trainee, Mr. Christopher Umukoro, who was enthusiastic about make-up, pendicure and manicure skills and diligently applied himself to the training. He hailed NDDC for the brilliant initiative, saying he would dedicate his time to the skill he has learned and earn good money from it.
in a similar vein, some of the trainers, Gbogiemi Eseoghene (confectionery); Edith Evromojo (bead making); and Blessing Ese Onoje (auto-gele), recounted their experience while dealing with the physically challenged persons, saying it was quite eventful. They thanked NDDC for creating the initiative, even as they requested the programme to be continuous, saying the impact would be tremendous in making the society a comfortable place for persons living with disability.
It will be recalled that the skills acquisition training and empowerment for people living with disability in Delta State, was sponsored by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), and facilitated by Health and Skills for Africa (HASFA). The programme is said to be the first of its kind coming from the stable of NDDC in recent times, and starter packs will be given to the beneficiaries.