NGO to partner Nollywood, music artistes to combat inequalities against PWDs

The Country Director of CBM Global, Ekaete Umoh; and the Creative Director of Potter’s Gallery, Donald Unanka, at a creative art exercise to raise awareness on the inequalities the PWDs face in the country on Saturday in Abuja.

A non-governmental organisation under the auspices of CBM Global says it will partner the Nigerian film industry, known as Nollywood, and music artistes to combat all forms of inequality against persons with disabilities (PWDs).

The Country Director of the NGO, Ekaete Umoh, stated this on Saturday at a global leadership programme by Ford Foundation for Global Leaders to disrupt inequalities in Abuja.

“This exercise is all about painting to disrupt inequalities. By disrupting inequalities, we are also challenging stereotypes.

“So today, we are gathered here to see how we can, collectively while relaxing, send out the message of inequalities and challenge stereotypes that people with disabilities may be facing.

“We have said we will stay under this beautiful trees to paint and send out the message that inequalities must be disrupted.

“So it is a way of using creative art to send messages that inequality is unacceptable, especially around people with disabilities in terms of stereotypes.

“This is just the begining of the project.

“So we will be looking at other forms of creative art like music, theatre.

“We are going to be organising musical festival yearly to push out these messages of inequalities.

“And we are going to be partnering with Nollywood to see how we can collectively drive back these inequalities,” she said.

Umoh, who is physically challenged and a 2021 Ford Global Fellow, said the fellowship was about getting people together to organise to disrupt all forms of inequalities.

“So in my fellowship, I am looking at organising people with disabilities to disrupt inequalities.

“This is not to say that people with disabilities have not been disrupting inequalities but how we are disrupting inequalities is what we are rethinking or re-strategising to see how it goes.”

She said some of the inequalities the PWDs face cut across various sectors, including employment, healthcare, access to quality education, inaccessible buildings, etc.

According to her, it is the barrier that they face that is not enabling them to participate effectively in all sectors of the economy they find themselves.

“As I speak with you, how many persons with disabilities do we have as House of Representatives members? How many persons with disabilities are in the Senate? How many governors with a disability do we have?

“Why were they not elected? Was it that they did not participate? What are the issues around their not being able to effectively participate in politics and get representation?” she asked.

Umoh, who commended the Federal Government on the Disability Act passed into law in 2019, called for its effective implementation.

The Creative Director of Potter’s Gallery, Donald Unanka, said the painting exercise was a way of sending a message to the government and private sector operators to wake up to protecting their rights by nipping in the bud all forms of discrimination against the PWDs.

Gabriel Samuel, a visually impaired flutist and saxophonist, said the bright future he believed in kept him moving on.

According to him, tough times don’t last, tough people do; result is what we should be aiming for.

“We should consolidate effort, amalgamate energy to get and achieve greater results.

“Evil thrives not because of the bad persons or the actions of the bad persons but it is as a result of the inactions or counter actions of the good persons,” he said.

Abubakar Sharhu, Chairman, Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, FCT Chapter, urged the PWDs to be ready to take up a challenge in any field they found themselves.

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