A non-governmental organisation, Safari Dance Fitness, has called on Nigerians to provide support for the care of persons living with disabilities in the country.
It lamented that parents of people with special needs were left to endure the challenges that come with catering for them.
A representative of Safari Dance Fitness, Onyeka Odum, stated this shortly after donating cerebral palsy and regular wheelchairs to Golden Hearts Touching Lives Initiative at the sixth Safari Fitness Dance Party in Lagos on Saturday.
“We know a lot of parents are struggling with their special needs children and generally, we noticed that a lot of charities don’t even talk about them; they focus more on the physical disabilities but these children have both physical and cognitive disabilities. So, we just decided to dedicate our annual dance party to children with special needs,” Odum said.
Speaking on the annual dance party, she said, “Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we scaled it down, but we were still able to put things together to donate some cerebral palsy wheelchairs to the Super Parents Foundation and regular wheelchairs to Golden Hearts Touching Lives Initiative, who have adopted a community school in Mushin.
“It is not the first time we are doing this; this is the sixth edition. Last year, we had to do something online because the coronavirus knocked off the usual plan. But this year, we were able to put this together for them. We are a dance fitness organisation.
“We dance every day online and physically. It (annual dance party) is always on Workers Day. It is just to create awareness for children with special needs. Once you can, it’s always good to give back, especially to NGOs who are trying to put things together for these children.
The Chairperson of Golden Hearts Touching Lives Initiative, Tolu Olaiya, thanked Safari Dance Fitness for the donation and called on Nigerians to show support for persons living with disabilities.
“This is the third time we are getting sponsorship from Safari to help us achieve our dreams about special needs children. We would have to have many more of this (donation) so it could help us to change people’s lives and realise that having a disability is not the end of the world,” Olaiya added.
Also speaking, the Chairman of Punch Nigeria Limited, Mrs Angela Emuwa, who is also a member of the Super Parents Foundation, said the donations would give the beneficiaries a sense of belonging, freedom and dignity.
Emuwa, who also participated in a workout organised by Safari Dance Fitness tagged, ‘#DanceMania,’ said, “It gladdens my heart that I can do something I am passionate about. I’m passionate about dance and special needs advocacy. The founder of Safari (Dance Fitness) has a child with special needs, so for them, it’s a passion. I also have a child with special needs. The idea is that every time we have this Safari party, we try to get donations from people to raise funds to buy wheelchairs or just get general support for some charities.
Emuwa, however, encouraged parents of children with special needs to allow their children to explore the world and make the best out of their potential.
“The more we talk about it (disabilities), the less the stigma, although there is still a lot of stigma. Another thing I also want to encourage is for parents to bring out their children, show them to the world and let the world know that they have the right to be where everybody else is.
“That is why we want to keep talking about special needs. I take my son everywhere. Anybody who doesn’t like it, it’s their business; we have to learn that everybody is different and we have to adapt,” she added. On her part, the President/Founder, Super Parents Foundation, Mofoluwasho Liasu, explained that the organisation provides physical and mental support for children with special needs.
“The giving, love, togetherness and fitness dance say a whole lot,” Liasu said.
A certified anaerobic dance instructor, Victory Akingbade, said the exercise would help the participants to stay fit and reduce mental stress.
Akingbade said, “One of the benefits is that we are all keeping fit and healthy. And it is also creating awareness for special needs children and soliciting funds for them.”