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Women with Disabilities in Ekiti State have called on the media to help correct certain notions about Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in order to protect their rights.

Speaking with 1Newsng at a Stakeholders’ training organized by the Advocacy for Women with Disabilities Initiative (AWWDI) in Ado Ekiti, the General Secretary of the Joint National Association of People with Disability (JONAPWD), Mr. Funsho Olajide, also called on the Ekiti State Government to constitute the Disability Agency board as well as the Office of Disability Affairs.

Mr. Olajide, who spoke on the topic, ‘Leave No One Behind,’ said, “The media has a vital role to play in making our intentions known to the public space, and so we’re appealing to the media that the same way they propagate Persons without Disability, they should also propagate Persons With Disability.”

According to him, “People often propagate Persons with Disabilities based on some model, like the Charity model. This is when people see PwDs as having money problems. People are so quick to give them N100. Politicians do this during the campaign period, whereas these politicians can help them with education and empowerment. This is one of the things we’re advocating that the media changes.”

He explained that, “Persons with Disability are sometimes treated from the Traditional model and that’s the Traditional point of view. For example, they said PWDs should not eat salt or someone with hearing or speaking impairment should not see the rest of the population with a leaf in their mouth. All these traditional models abuse the community of PwDs.”

He added that, “We also have the medical model as doctors believe medical attention should be of priority. However, we have temporary and Permanent Disability. Outside the country, you’re given a certificate to identify as a PWD. We also have the religious model, which projects PWDs to need deliverance. It’s not always like that.”

He mentioned that, “The social model, however, preaches that Disability is not a barrier but the society. Everyone should be inclusive. For example, all facilities should be inclusive and PwDs should not be restricted. For example, there are only two hotels in Ekiti that are only manageable for PwDs in Ekiti, which is not supposed to be so. The media should help to create awareness about all these I’ve mentioned above to bring about changes.”

He pointed out that, “The media can project real narratives about the disability community, like their marriages, their children, education, their successes, and many more. Let the right person send the right message to the public. PwDs are not beggars, and they should not be projected as one.”

Mr. Olajide emphasized that, “We are ready to work with the government, and so we’re pleading that someone with Disability should be appointed to occupy these positions we are advocating for because they understand the disability community better.

Speaking on one of the challenges experienced, Mr. Olajide said, “We’re working so hard to get data of PWDs across the board because if international institutions would be helping out, they would work based on data, and this has been one of the major challenges we’ve been facing as an advocacy.”

Speaking at the end of the training, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Biodun Oyebanji on Community Communications, Mrs. Mary Oso-Omotoso, appreciated the organizers of the program for introducing such an empowering initiative to Ekiti State, aiming to uplift women with disabilities and helping them lead meaningful lives as integral members of society.

Mrs. Omotoso added that the Biodun Oyebanji led-administration has strengthened his commitment by appointing a Special Adviser on Special Education and Social Inclusion, noting that this strategic move aims to foster an even more inclusive and supportive environment for PwDs in the state.

Also, the representative from the Ministry of Justice who was present at the training lauded the initiative and noted that the issuing of certificates to PwDs would be considered.

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