by crossriverwatch admin
The Cross River State Chairman of the Joint National Association of Persons With Disability, JONAPWD, Comrade Ogar Ojong has lamented the poor level of support and stigmatization suffered by members of the association in the state.
Speaking with CrossRiverWatch in Calabar, Ogar said JONAPWD is the umbrella body championing the course of all persons with any form of disability as well as a platform for uniting and helping themselves.
Comrade Ogar who said the association has over 12,000 members spread across the state also lamented the poor level of support, stigmatization that they receive. “Currently we have no steady source of funding and empowerment, yes the State Ministry of Social Welfare and Community Development have been trying but more needs to be done.
“Out of over 12,000 members yearly not 50 of us are trained in choice vocation and properly empowered by it, the load is too much for the government alone because we are increasing on daily basis, disability is not something of choice but when it comes it has come.
“Presently we are passing through a lot of challenges in terms of support and attention but most of all the stigmatization.”
Recounting his experience, the State Chairman said, “Many people look at us with pity and end up saying sorry while some will remove 50 naira, 100 and even 200 naira and say take!
“One day I went for a meeting at a hotel, while I was entering the venue a man with an expensive jeep packed by me, we exchanged greetings, the next word out of his mouth was sorry and then brought out 300 naira and said please manage this.
“I was so embarrassed because many people think we’re beggars which is not so, truly we pass through a lot of difficulties but not to that extent. A rational being when in need asks for it but many people now generalize it that we are beggars.”
The Mass Communication graduate of Cross River University of Technology, CRUTECH said in job the relevant opportunities and environment for the disabled is far from sight. “We are not given equal opportunity to contest despite our educational qualification.”
The native of Etung LGA who is happily married with a daughter appealed to good spirited individuals and organizations to come to their aid as members are too poor to contribute for even a secretariat and a means of mobility which they are in dare need of.
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