The Chief Executive Director of Hope Ability Empowerment Initiative, (HAEI) Martina Ongbonya Ntino has released a statement celebrating her birthday and her NGO’s anniversary with a touching “little beginning” story.
HAEI was birthed on 15th March which coincides with her birthday. Taking us down memory lane, Ntino narrates:
THE LITTLE BEGINNING
Hope Ability Empowerment Initiative was conceived during my NYSC service year in 2008/2009.
The journey began when I was posted to a local government area called Okitipupa in Ondo State to serve with The Scripture Union which was then non-existent in the Local Government Area of the state. I was forced to come back to the headquarters and asked to go to schools and search for where I could do my community service.
One day, I remembered there was a special school in Ondo town. After much enquiries, I was able to locate the school and met with the principal who said they never had a corper serve in their school. He gave me a small space in the dormitory to manage with the students because there was no Corper’s lodge in the school. I cherished that little space because that was where my journey into humanitarian causes began. Accepting to stay in the dormitory with the students was a turning point in my career.
One cool evening, a young man called Olaniyi Temitope walked into the compound with his team mates to play football. As a coach and referee in the deaf community, he was full of energy and I admired his brilliant skills and great intelligence. When I discovered he was also a writer, I decided to make him a special friend so I could tap into his writing and sign language skills. With Tope’s help, I learnt to write and acquire the skills of sign language. This was the first time I was meeting a highly intelligent man with hearing loss. I have always loved intelligent men/women. Through Tope’s mentorship, I was able to publish my first book in 2009. The book was titled ‘You Can make it’.
Living under same roof with students with hearing loss for one year, gave me an insight into the various societal problems faced by persons with special needs. These issues gave me sleepless nights as I continued thinking of how to assist in my own little way.
In trying to find solutions to some of the problems identified, I decided to address the issues in a more organized way, hence the floating of an NGO called Community Ability Development Initiative (CADI) on 15th March, 2009. The name was later changed to “Hope Ability Empowerment Initiative” (HAEI) when I registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in 2021.
Hope Ability Empowerment Initiative started on March 15, 2009 after a community sign language outreach with Deaf kids and their parents in Calabar as part of the founder’s birthday activities. HAIE is registered with the Cross River State Ministry of Social Welfare and Humanitarian services and with Corporate Affairs Reg. No. CAC/IT/NO 170631 gotten on December 8, 2021
HAEI’s vision is a society where Persons with Disabilities and other vulnerable groups are integrated and included in all developmental programmes, with poverty totally eradicated.
To promote the existing values and potential contributions of Persons with Disabilities to the overall well-being and diversity of their communities through full employment of persons with disabilities, community awareness, advocacy, research and full participation in social and economic development of the society.
OUR GOAL: To improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities, their parents, and other vulnerable groups.
OUR MANDATE: Persons with disabilities; parents, women, girls, adolescents and children, street children, orphans, widows, IDPs
1) Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities and other vulnerable groups and their parents through awareness creation, advocacy, and effective service delivery
2) To strengthen the knowledge and skills of Persons with Disabilities and other vulnerable groups through facilitation to participate in professional development and educational opportunities.
3) Advocate for social inclusion and improved policies, practices and resources to support the needs of Persons With Disabilities, widows and other vulnerable groups
4) To serve as a research centre on disabilities issues and programmes.
5) Facilitate the empowerment of women/girls on entrepreneurship and basic vocational skills for improved life quality
6) To network with CSOs, government agencies, private institutions and international agencies in ending remote and immediate causes of Disabilities in the society.
7) To bridge the communication gaps between Deaf community and the society through the promotion of Sign Language
8) To develop a state-wide database of the deaf across Cross River State
9) To create awareness on Sexual & Reproductive Health, Sexual and Gender Based Violence and other Harmful Practices.
• Education (Sign Language education, Staying in School, menstrual and Sexuality education)
• Health and Nutrition (Sexual HIV&AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis, Reproductive Health, FGM, Immunization)
• Climate change and Agriculture
• Women Rights and Gender Equality
• Child Trafficking advocacy
• Entrepreneurship and vocational skill buildings
• Water sanitation and hygiene
• Democracy and Governance
Since her conception, HAEI has implemented various activities. The picture gallery below speaks for us.