By Polycarp Auta
Umar Abubakar, a 30 year-old Person with Disability (PWD) in Jos, has explained why he rejected street begging and acquired shoe-making skill.
Abubakar, a resident of Bauchi Road community of Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau, narrated his story in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Jos.
Abubakar was a beneficiary of the empowerment programme recently organised by a non-governmental organisation, Centre for Community Action for Peace and Development (CCAPAD) for 60 youths in Jos North Local Government Area.
He explained that he came down with polio at age two, adding that he started learning shoe-making since 2001.
”I came down with polio since when I was two years old and so, I couldn’t go to school or do anything meaningful.
”But in 2001, I decided to join someone who repairs and makes new shoes opposite our house to learn because I don’t want to be idle.
”Even when my friends will convince me that we should go for street begging, I usually reject the temptation because I know such ventures won’t help me
”I have a family who love and care for me without reservation, and I felt i should also do something that will enable me contribute toward the growth of the family and to also be useful to myself,” he said.
Abubakar thanked CCAPAD for the training and starter packs presented to him, adding that it would enable him improve on his work for better service delivery.
”This is the first time I’m receiving any help since I started learning shoe making and so I’m grateful to this organisation.
”I want to assure them, my family and indeed my entire community that I will do my best to put these items and the cash donated to me into good use,” he promised.
On his physical disability, Abubakar advised parents to ensure regular immunisation against polio for their children to avoid the spread of the disease in the country.
He also advised those already living with disabilities to engage in meaningful ventures instead of street begging or idling around.
Mr Ahmed Salihu, the Executive Director of CCAPAD, said that the initiative was supported by the European Union through the British Council’s Agent for Citizen-Driven Transformation (ACT).
He explained that the gesture was part of its project entitled: ”Strengthening the Culture of Resilience Among Children and Youth in Jos”.
Salihu further explained that the project was implemented alongside three other organisations, namely; Centre for Peace Advancement in Nigeria (CEPAN), Community Aid Workers Initiative (CAWI) and Gangare Youth Forum (GYF).
He said that the beneficiaries were drawn from Bauchi road, Anguwan Rukuba, Anguwan Jarawa and Naraguta communities, all in Jos North Local Government Area.
”The beneficiaries are largely direct victims of the various Jos crises and so the project is aimed at addressing the conflict consequences.
”Some of the beneficiaries are youths that are out of school, drug addicts and those who are into prostitution and all kind of vices.
”So, we brought these youth together and first deradicalise them, made them select the kind of skill they want to do and we funded it,” he said.
The executive director added that the rationale behind the project is to make the beneficiaries self-sufficient and economically viable, adding that such move would promote peace and tranquility in the society.
”We believe that by doing so, are will pull out these beneficiaries of the street and make them better persons.
”That once they are can earn a living and support their loved ones, it will be difficult for anyone to induce them with money to indulge in crime,” Salihu added.
He further said that the beneficiaries were trained in the areas of shoe making, hairdressing, interior decoration, petty trading and cosmetology, among others.
Mrs Omotunde Clement, the Focal Person of the project in Plateau, said that the initiative aimed at empowering its partners to access funds that would strengthen their capacity to engage effectively and influence development in sectors such
She said that the project was currently being implemented in 10 states of the federation.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Kayode Olaitan