Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) have called on stakeholders and the public to provide level-playing grounds for equal opportunities to persons with disability instead of treating most as charity cases, giving them handouts.
Programme Director, Advocacy for Women with Disabilities (AWWDI), Kola Jayeoba, gave the charge, yesterday, during a media training organised by AWWDI in partnership with HIVOS and We Lead, in Abuja.
He said over the years, people with disabilities had been given handouts instead of empowerment that would enable them to contribute to the economy.
Jayeoba, who called for value and perception reorientation among the public, said it is important to note that persons with disabilities should not be discriminated upon and excluded on the basis of their disabilities but should be given equal opportunities.
He said: “Over the years, the community of persons with disabilities have been treated as charity from what we call the charity model so the people and so many duty-bearers prefer to give them handouts, such as money and all of that, instead of giving them training capacity and opportunity like every other person to enable them have a means of livelihood for the rest of their lives.
The programme director added that the media training was organised to enlighten journalists on proper reportage of issues concerning PWDs as they are key to shaping the minds and thinking of the public and also to bring to the fore what women with disabilities want concerning their sexual and reproductive health.
Also, FCT Coordinator of (AWWDI), Tashashi Monsurat, said women with hearing impairment usually face communication challenges as they find it difficult to decode communications from health workers.
Monsurat, who narrated her personal experience, urged the authorities to prioritise introduction of sign language interpretation in all health centres across the country to foster inclusiveness.
According to her, visually impaired patients should be assisted with Braille to enable them read first-hand from the doctors.
She also urged the media to give issues around PWDs a top priority, appealing to health workers to respect the rights of women and girls with disabilities.