US Doles Out Over $4,000 For Digital Hub
By Gina Emmanuel
United States Acting Consul General, Darcy Zotter said the U.S. government is convinced that removing barriers and creating a world in which disabled people enjoy dignity and full inclusion is imperative.
Speaking while declaring the hub open in the Agege area of Lagos at the office of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD),Zotter explained that more than 1,014 projects from 125 countries were submitted and 68 projects, including the digital hub, were selected for funding.
We are happy to identify with this initiative which seeks to promote the empowerment and social inclusion of persons living with disabilities in Nigeria. Through this technology and entrepreneurship hub, over 250 people with disabilities will have free access to inclusive technology.
“An additional 20 young persons with disabilities will be trained and mentored in various technology-based skills at the hub,”
She further stated that the United States Consulate General in Lagos has also provided additional funding of $4,401 to keep the digital hub running.
“Through our various missions in different countries worldwide and through a number of projects and initiatives, we work with foreign governments and civic organizations like Project Enable to promote the rights of persons living with disabilities and provide practical support to facilitate their integration and inclusion.
“Our presence at the hub is an example of this. Earlier this year, a team of young and passionate Nigerians at Project Enable led by Mr. Olusola Owonikoko, a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow, was awarded a $25,000 grant through the U.S. State Department’s 2017 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund competition.
“There are numerous active U.S. government exchange alumni like Olusola across Nigeria,” she said.
On the other hand, Project Enable Director, Olusola Owonikoko tasked government on the need for a bill for people living with disability (PLWD),to be passed into law.
“Without that PLWD may not be employed and public buildings may not be accessible to them. We need a framework where we can work.The bill has been there for a while. In fact four years ago, we made a small documentary to take the story of PLWD and past administration heard some hearing but nothing has been done”.
Project Enable seeks to promote the right, empowerment and social inclusion of persons with disabilities.
On her part, Chairperson JONAPWD, Mrs Adedoyin Beyioke-Alase while applauding the US and Project Enable, she disclosed that people with disabilities have since been forgotten and not recognised in the society.
She added that no one wanted to rent a flat or property to the association until respite came their way through the owner of Chapters hotel in Agege for the hub.
“We will keep moving and thinking towards expansion because Rome wasn’t built in a day”.