Organisation trains 40 teachers, caregivers on boosting wellbeing of PLWDs

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By Sarafina Christopher

The Jela’s Development Initiatives (JDI), an NGO, trained over 40 teachers and caregivers of young persons with disabilities on mental health to boost their wellbeing.

The Chief Executive Officer of JDI, Angela Ochu-Baiye, who spoke in Abuja said the two-day training would help to create a trauma sensitive environment for Persons Living With Disabilities (PLWDs) especially students.

According to her, the event jointly organised by JDI, the Leprosy Mission and Liliane Fonds for students in the FCT centered on basic mental healthcare and sexual/reproductive health and rights of students with disabilities.

Ochu-Baiye said: “We have started empowering teachers and caregivers that work with students living with disabilities in the two inclusive schools in the FCT.

“They include students with disabilities in GSS Kuje and GSS Kwali, JDSS Kwali, FCT. We have been funded by the mission to carry out unburden group therapy sessions for students with disabilities.

“We found out that there are certain issues that cause students with disabilities to have mental health challenges and part of them also have to do with their teachers.

“Therefore, this training is to empower the teachers to understand their mental health and to enable them create trauma sensitive environments for the students.

“Also, to let the teachers know that these students with disabilities have sexual and reproductive health rights as well.”

Also speaking, Mr Tayo Adefarasin, Sexual and Reproductive Health Specialist, JDI, described women and children as being most vulnerable, especially those with disabilities.

According to him, it has become important to take sexual/reproductive health seriously.

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“We believe it is pertinent to take into consideration women and girls living with disabilities by providing them with some basic healthcare amenities,

“It could be as little as disposable pads during the menstrual cycle, specifically educating them to gauge their body to know what changing signs are when experiencing puberty.

“We need to sensitise them to be sensitive when somebody touches them in a particular manner, know when to move away from and also know how and when to say no.

“These are the issues on the front burner concerning people living with disability,”Adefarasin said.

On her part, Mrs Zainab Nuhu, Senior Education Officer FCT Secondary Education Board, described the event as an opportunity to sensitise the teachers on the importance of mental health.

“I believe there should be more awareness for school teachers, because a lot of people do not know these things.

“Most of them do not have people living with disabilities close to them; I learnt a lot from this training and I will inform the board about the need for more awareness,”Nuhu said.

On his part, Mr Agada Aguda, Head of Department for Special Needs Education, Junior Day Secondary School, Kwali-FCT, appreciated the training.

He said that the event helped to promote teaching and learning about mental health, as well as proper ways to cater for the needs of students living with disabilities.

“I want to sincerely thank JDI for this initiative, because the workshop has helped me to know more about mental health.

“Also, in ways such could assist these students, in relation to their mental health and proper ways to handle them with care.

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“This workshop also opened my eyes to know about how to protect the rights of the children living with disability and to fight for their fundamental right,” he said.

He decried challenges often faced by children living with disability, saying they suffer double tragedy of discrimination and stigmatization in the society. (NAN) (

Edited by Benson Iziama/Bashir Rabe Mani

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