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HANDEF Empowers Her Graduate Trainees, Awards Winning Schools and Students in Essay and Art Competition-

-Agagu’s widow fetes handicapped trainees, students

THE wife of the former Governor of Ondo State and founder of Handicapped Education Foundation (HANDEF), Dr Mrs. Olufunke Agagu, last week feted primary, secondary school students and physically impaired trainees to mark its tenth empowerment programme in Akure.

HANDEF, since creation in 2008, has been encouraging people living with disabilities by organising different seminars and workshops on different aspects of life to empower them on health issues, business and entrepreneurship, and partnering with other local and international organizations, geared towards giving the focal persons a sense of belonging and purpose on earth.

Seventeen people living with various disabilities at the HANDEF Mobility Aid and Braille Centre were given six laptop computers, three knitting machines and eight cash empowerment, while 11 students from primary and secondary school categories won several awards and cash prizes in a competition.

According to the founder: “This will be the tenth in the series of our empowerment programs since the centre was commissioned in 2008. In fact, we had three ceremonies in the first year where we graduated 20 in ICT and seven in bead and hat making.”

She stated that the foundation has trained for free and graduated 56 people in ICT, 29 in fashion designing, knitting, hat and bead making from 2008 to 2015, “and all of them were given tools of their trade or start-off grants.”

Mrs. Olufunke Agagu mentioned that during the same period, the foundation has counselled and tested 1863 for HIV/ AIDS and have given out over 700 mobility aids throughout the south western states, and even to beneficiaries in Edo State, adding that one of the Ogungbeni children, who are beneficiaries of HANDEF, would soon graduate from the Technical College, Okitipupa.

The foundation in the last two years has introduced “The Essay and Artistic Drawing Competition,” which is open to select private primary and secondary schools in the state, and as affirmed by Agagu, “would serve firstly as campaign among school children on the plight of people with disability.”

She emphasized that the competition “also seeks to discover the latent creativity of our children. The winners of this competition in the various categories will be given awards and a reminiscent of the HANDEF Partners’ Club of the early years of the foundation.”

The former governor’s wife expressed displeasure over the poor use of the e-granary library that is domiciled in HANDEF Centre and the subsequent sale of the empowerment tools given to the trainees after graduation, thereby imploring parents to discourage their wards from such acts. HANDEF is also making efforts to partner with some tertiary institutions in the South West to reverse the former trend.

However, she said: “HANDEF will continue to work for the benefit and recognition of our focal group but I must say that we need encouragement from our parents, the general public and government at all levels; people with different disabilities are part and parcel of or society and they deserve recognition and place of pride, not pity or discrimination.”

The founder recounted that the donation that was received at its inception has yielded more profits, has been the source and financial base for the sustenance of its operations and empowerment programmes, thereby urging the general public and humanitarian organisations to partner with the foundation to better the lives of the handicapped and impaired people. Earlier, in a lecture on entrepreneurship, which is the key focus of HANDEF, Mr. Michael Amushitan, from Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), orientated the trainees and on the technicalities and strategies of becoming a successful entrepreneur in their various vocations.

The President of HANDEF Beneficiaries Business Association (HBBA), Falae Mayowa, thanked the founder for the humanitarian drive and pledged that the association would continue to dissuade the beneficiaries from further abusing the great gesture to give them a sense of belonging as a people.

Present at the occasion were: Chief Dr. Mrs. Olufunke Agagu, the former First Lady of Ondo state and Founder of HANDEF, Chief Femi Akinmade, a Board of Trustee member of HANDEF, Chief Mrs. Cecelia Meradesa, the Iyalode of Akure, Mrs. Bike Akinduro among others.

… Cued from The Guardian June 16, 2015

www.ngrguardiannews.com/2015/06/agagus-widow-fetes-handicapped-trainees-students/

Cast your seeds on the waters and you shall reap it hundred fold. HANDEF is in the Crusade of creating more meaningful life for People Living with Disabilities even making them the envy of all. You too are invited to join us in the Crusade of making life a better place for People Living with Disabilities to live in and you will have the Heavens smiling on you. HANDEF in 2006 continued waxing stronger.

Cast your seeds on the waters and you shall reap it hundred fold. HANDEF is in the Crusade of creating more meaningful life for People Living with Disabilities even making them the envy of all. You too are invited to join us in the Crusade of making life a better place for People Living with Disabilities to live in and you will have the Heavens smiling on you. HANDEF in 2006 continued waxing stronger.

Cast your seeds on the waters and you shall reap it hundred fold. HANDEF is in the Crusade of creating more meaningful life for People Living with Disabilities even making them the envy of all. You too are invited to join us in the Crusade of making life a better place for People Living with Disabilities to live in and you will have the Heavens smiling on you. HANDEF in 2006 continued waxing stronger.

Cast your seeds on the waters and you shall reap it hundred fold. HANDEF is in the Crusade of creating more meaningful life for People Living with Disabilities even making them the envy of all. You too are invited to join us in the Crusade of making life a better place for People Living with Disabilities to live in and you will have the Heavens smiling on you. HANDEF in 2006 continued waxing stronger.

A Decade of Helpfulness 2005

In continuation of our journey since 2003, HANDEF in 2005 did not relent in putting smiles on the faces of the people living with disabilities with activities such as; presentation of Nigerians with Disabilities Bill to the Senate, two children from School for the Blind, Owo, Ondo state regained their sight. That was indeed a watershed experience for us. There is more, we say a picture is worth more than a thousand words. Our soap opera that was showcased in 2004 still carried ripples into 2005. Look, enjoy and join us.

HANDEF IN THE BEGINNING.

By December 18, 2013 Handicapped Education Foundation (HANDEF) will be 10 years old. Our Journey has been very eventful and enriching in the experiences that we have had.
This week, we will start serializing aspects of our journey in the coming weeks on our blog.
We invite you to join us, share with us and send your comments as well.

Founder’s comment:

IT’S TEN YEARS ALREADY!!
All too soon, ten years have gone by since our Foundation, the Handicapped Education Foundation, was launched with a resolve to intervene in the affairs of people living with disabilities in the society. The journey so far has been quite challenging, eye-opening, heart-warming, and all-in-all, very satisfying.
We set out to highlight their plight and to make a difference in whatever way we thought was necessary. This simple intent has taken us on an exciting journey that has touched more than 5000 lives.
First and foremost, we had to do a lot of sensitisation and awareness campaigns as regards the everyday problems faced by our focal group. It is no secret that people generally have a lot of misgivings about people living with disabilities. However, it is hard to imagine the scale of the superstitious beliefs about them. Many hide them at home for fear of ‘tainting’ the family name. Transporters will not pick them up in their cars and buses, making mobility even more challenging. There are so many complications arising from all these misguided beliefs and they rob people with disabilities of a fair shot at normal lives.

THE STORY OF MY LIFE – IFE

THE STORY OF MY LIFE – IFE

My Disability is no issue, I call myself Prince

Hello! My name is Ife, I live in Akure and I am physically challenged. Just thought I should share my experiences and hope you will write to me once in a while. I am actually sixteen and I have just left school. How did I become handicapped? Well, the way my mum put it, I had a running temperature and she thought it was teething problem so she gave me some herbs.

However by the next morning, I had developed more complications; she wasn’t exactly rich or a very educated so she had to ask for help. To cut the long story short, she did not get help on time and when she finally did, I could not walk properly again. I call myself prince because my mum says I am one. You know, I have met quite a lot of important people. I met one reporter some time ago and she felt so bad for me that she wrote a story about me and it became a play that was used on television which they called “A share of the sun”.

The First lady, Mrs. Olufunke  Agagu produced that play so she could let people see why it is important to love people like me and why people like me should be allowed to go to school. She was so touched by our plight that she started an NGO, HANDEF. You are actually holding a copy of our magazine in your hand.

Hey! I thought of an idea, suppose we form a fan club and send each other fan mails. You know crazy things people tend to say about us, like someone offering you money just because you walk funny. Some of my friends used to be surprised if I say something profound. They seem to think being handicapped means you ‘ve got to be a stupid person. I get real hot under the collar when I hear parents, teachers or ordinary folks looking surprised because the handicapped can think. Man! Identify yourself first and then others will identify you by your own logo! Get it? so what is my logo? “I can, because I say so” Get my meaning.

Give yourself a logo my friend. HANDEF has one, “ABILITY IN DISABILITY”. I think it is a great logo if u ask me, but let us share our logos hmmm. Tell me what you believe in, if you had to look in a mirror and introduce yourself to me blah blah blah et cetera et cetera, how would you do that? My name is handicapped Tale? Of course not! You will say, ‘please meet prince Ifeoluwapo, the scientist in the making!’ That is right, my friend.

Being handicapped is not a title you attach to your name. it is a state of being, part of you! Have faith in yourself. You are you, just you, original. You know there are no photocopies of human beings around.

My mum used to tell me that each time she saw me looking sad, she would say, The Almighty Father must have had me in mind as at the time He gave me a name. WOW! That was heavy. I told her then feeling funny because you see, I had decided I was going to ask the Almighty Father one question! Like what was the idea of sending me down here with one and a half leg! I was very angry I can tell you.  Then I saw….. did I say saw?… well wrong language, I meant to say that I noticed I can sing!

First, my songs were angry songs, you know – why me? I mean I was really feeling sorry for myself. We all do that you know, feel sorry for ourselves and think we can’t make it.

Gradually I listened more to what the CEO of HANDEF, Mrs. Olufunke Agagu said.  She said to me if I could give myself the opportunity, I could be the best I could be.

Who says I cannot be a pilot?  Leg or no leg? My mum stared at me, swallowed but said nothing. I am in the sciences now because you see I want to be a Nobel Prize winner one day for a scientific feat. There is no reason why I cannot. Remember my logo, good!

Since I am getting to know you for the first time, I will stop here for now. Write and let me know about your experiences, what do you think? What has challenged you my friend, have a logo man!

Catch you later ha! Ha!

Prince Ife