More than ninety-five thousand physically challenged women and girls have been enrolled in a free skill acquisition training project in Calabar, the Cross River State capital city in southern Nigeria.
The beneficiaries were enrolled by a non-profit organization known as Enabled to Enable, founded by a graduate of sociology, Miss Eno Okpo, who is also a person with special needs.
Skills ranging from bead making, fashion and design, photography, knitting and computer education form part of the curriculum for the training.
Some of the beneficiaries described the opportunity as a worthy cause and essential to being self employed.
Esther Ekwere, a secondary school leaver and nine-year-old, Joy Ekpenyong, in bead making, stated that the training would enable them earn some income even while in school.
Mrs. Arit Okon, a physically challenged person said that she was looking forward to owning her personal bead making business after the programme.
In the dress making section, Miss Esther Bassey said “the training is very good and the facilitators are good. As a specially challenged person it is very difficult to get a job working for the government or other big companies. But, with skills or crafts like these, we will do better.
Learning a skill like this is one thing and going back home after acquiring the skills without the funds to buy necessary tools to start up a business is another thing. I appeal to people, well meaning Nigerians to donate such needed equipments to us”, said Bassey.
The founder of Enabled to Enable, Miss Eno Okpo, said that the foundation was established to offer assistance to others facing similar challenges.
“The challenges I faced when I was boarding in secondary school and the difficulties experienced while searching for employment after my university education motivated me to reach out to others,” she said.
Okpo remarked “the foundation was currently training about 96 women and girls including some street children in Fashion and designing, bead making, computers education, knitting and photography.”
She noted that in order to make the training more accessible to more persons, she was receiving support from good spirited Nigerians, who volunteer their time to train the beneficiaries as well as receive funding from international organizations such as Benita Eye Clinic and the Virginia Gilder sleeve International Fund, VGIF.
She said that efforts were being made to partner with agencies under the Federal and State Governments to expand the scope of its training to accommodate 500 ,more people.