By Adewale Adeyanju, Lagos
The Lagos State Deaf Women Association (LSDWA) has organized an empowerment and skills training in production of light snacks (small chops) for its members as it commemorate Year 2023 International Women’s Day on Saturday 14th October, 2023 at Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere-Lagos.
International Women’s Day (IWD) is an annual event celebrated around the World to honour and appreciate women for their priceless contributions toward preserving the family as well as their roles and enormous contributions towards the growth of society. The global event is celebrated every 8th day in March. However, Women organizations still set aside different dates to commemorate the event.
LSDWA being a Women organization, with the Motto: “To preserve the dignity and advance the interests of deaf women in Lagos State” organised the event to honour their departed colleagues and heroines who left our World a few years back- Mrs. Mojisola Okikiade, Fausat Agbabiaka and Bosede Dahunsi, three foundation members of the Association who were instrumental to the birth of the Association and pioneer members of the struggle for deaf Women’s emancipation and independence in Lagos State Deaf community. The programme was conceived and adopted by the general members and executivea of LSDWA led by Mrs. Yemisi Alabi the Chairperson of the Association.
The programme, anchored by Mrs. Rebecca Okocha, a staunch member of LSDWA was fun-filled as it was packaged to include some selected members sharing their testimonies about the life and times of each of their three departed colleagues spiced with goodwill messages and words of admonition and counselling from invited guests; quizzes competition and raffle draw with lots of prizes to be won as well as cooking competition and training in culinary skills including how to cook and prepare doughnuts, buns, puff puff, eggrolls, fish pie and other snacks or small chops.
Deaf Women who came out in their large numbers, literally filled the event venue – a section of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere, Lagos. They came from different location in different LGAs/LCDAs in Lagos State, radiating happiness at the occasion wearing different sets of Jerseys which symbolize each of their departed colleagues in White, Green and Red coloured jerseys.
In her welcome address at the occasion, the Chairperson of Lagos State Deaf Women Association (LSDWA) – Mrs. Yemisi Alabi reminisced with nostalgia how she was impacted by the lives of the departed colleagues especially Late Mrs. Fausat Agbabiaka who encouraged her smooth transition from hearing world into the silent world as she joined the deaf community when she became a hard-of hearing, knowing nothing about Sign Language and without previous knowledge about Deaf culture.
But for the painstaking efforts of Late Fausat Agbabiaka – the then LSDWA Chairperson in assisting her to assimilate and to accept the deaf culture, painstakingly guiding and advising her with great patience paid off as embodied by her present status among deaf women in the Deaf Community.
“I thank God for our lives as we all fill this place, let’s remember our departed colleagues and heroines by observing a minute of silence” she started.
“May the departed souls continue to rest in peace. I wish to thank you all present here, especially the Executive Board and members for your approval, your backing and support morally, financially and spiritually toward organizing this event. This event was made possible by contributions and donations from our members and some of our husbands as well. May our good deeds be remembered when we are no more.
“Central to our programme today is to let each and everyone be up and doing and also be counted in doing good in our journey in this life. Life is about impacting our fellow men and women. We thank God for lives of our departed colleagues who laid the foundation of this Association for us to build upon their legacies.
“We are remembering them today and will like to emphasize to our (deaf) women and colleagues the importance of having some works with which we can depend upon for our sustenance. Hence we are organizing this impactful skills training like we have always organized in the past to help our members to be economically independent and to assist those who are in family relationship not to be a burden or liability to their husbands and family” she concluded.
A selected numbers of LSDWA members gave testimonies on each of their departed colleagues and heroines. The history of the Association was also highlighted for benefit of those who are new members as Mrs. Esther Abeke Odusanya who was closer and had work with each of the departed colleagues took the gathering down memory lane as she shed lights on how the struggle for Deaf Women Association in Lagos State was birthed, the early days from Year 2000 when the Association was known as Deaf Women Wing, their affiliation to the Nigeria National Association of the Deaf (NNAD) National Headquaters and the roles played by each of the departed colleagues and heroines in founding Lagos State Deaf Women Association (LSDWA) in 2017.
Mrs. Remi Adeiye, member of LSDWA and Secretary, Badagry Welfare Association of the Deaf (BWAD) reminded the gathering about essence of womanhood adding that “as a woman, we are supposed to be hardworking and supportive of our husbands and family instead of being a burden and liability. As a fashion designer and a business woman, I still engaged in snail farming in my house, thank God I have my own house and utilize the space in the backyard for snail farming ventures”. She proudly advised other women to engage in some business or a worthwhile ventures.
Mr. Kingsley Njoku, a staff of Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs (LASODA) commended LSDWA, reminding them to continue to build on legacies of their departed heroes who laid the foundation of the Association. He charged them to be industrious, diligent and hardworking, avoid begging for a living and strive to fulfill their place in the family as mothers, sisters, daughters and partners stressing that women now rules the world.
Others who gave advices and goodwill messages include Mr. Issa Ahmadu Usman, Chairman Lagos State Association of the Deaf (LSAD), Prince Jelili Raimi Olatunde (former Vice Chairman, LSAD), and Mr. Adewale Adeyanju (Secretary General Lagos State APC Deaf Supporters Group). The group praised LSDWA members and advised them to continue to work together and present a common front and bonds.
In his response to the shower of love and remembrance of his late wife by LSDWA members, Alhaji Lukman Agbabiaka, expresses his profound gratitudes and appreciations to the women for honours accorded to his late wife and other heroines, adding “even though we all miss them, we can keep their memories and legacy alive by also contributing our quota to development of the Association and Deaf Community.
“We have to continue to mentor the younger ones to also become responsible adults and take over when they are old or the older generation departed” he concluded