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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/

TRIBUTE TO A STAR

TRIBUTE TO A STAR

It was a Friday like any Friday. The weather did not give any suggestion that it was going to be a black day or that it was going to set in tears. The day before my boss had called to say she had just arrived from her well deserved rest abroad. She sounded refreshed and raring to go. We talked about the plans for the 10th anniversary of the NGO, Handicapped Education Foundation that we all called HANDEF.

I expressed anxiety over the tardiness of a sponsor we had been waiting to respond, and she kindly said I should not worry so much, that we should depend on the Almighty about how the anniversary would be celebrated. However, she might be paying a visit to the centre soon, in a week or thereabouts. Anyway I should let her have the sample letter I was planning for schools.

I promised to send her an update of activities since she had been away, to bring things up to the minute. A few more chit chat and the conversation ended with me in an upbeat mood which carried me into the next day Friday the 13th of September.

Report up to date, I called her and informed her that it was now in her email. The day ended peacefully enough and I went home. Then came the phone call. I was already half way to dream state when the call came and the caller in deep anxiety called to ask if the news was true. My boss had lost her best friend, confidant, role model and husband of more than three decades.

My heart hammered against my rib cage and I wondered if I was about to reach to the cold beyond to yank him back. I felt very sad. The phone calls kept flooding in thereafter so I abruptly switched off. Dr, Olusegun Agagu had passed on. The man who seemed indestructible from the numerous betrayals of close associates had been felled by the cold hands of death.

I wondered how my boss would be feeling and shuddered in real pain, at what I sensed would be the huge black hole she would be gazing at. My memory took leaps as I recollected the close bond that held them together. I remember these stories that had made me to respect him.

I remember his passion to showcase only the virtues and abundant resources of the state to anyone who cared to listen. A practical and pragmatic person, he was under no illusion about anything, but had a will to change things. Once when I took him up on the granite tiles that he had used for the government house, because I had like many other people assumed he imported those beautiful tiles, he had smiled and invited me to visit the state ministry of commerce so they could take me to the granite sites of the state so I could see things for myself. There was justified pride in his mien and voice as he said Ondo state had the best granite in the world. He could say that, for he was on familiar grounds.

I worked for his wife, but gradually learned the personality of Dr Agagu. He was always courteous, dignified with an unfailing smile each time I met him. I always felt there was a lot he kept under control behind those smiles.

My husband and I are like two peas in a pod as we go everywhere together, and I felt we were not strange as I saw the bond between Dr. and his wife. Over time, I had learned to see a lot of virtues in this dignified man. He was a rare breed who conducted his political affair with a deft brilliance that angered his enemies and left some of his aides frustrated because they could not match his moral ground.

I am sure Dr. Agagu was not exactly a perfect man, he was aware of his foibles. Some faux pas he committed, particularly his naïve acceptance that it was okay to surround himself with very ambitious men. This naivete cost him dear politically but I think he simply shrugged and moved on to the next step, next rung of his experiencing.

I understood his focused understanding of his people and what would seem best for them. His attitude was sometimes patriarchal, with a benevolence that tended to make me wish he would just for once look around him. I always felt he had no business being in Nigerian politics with its cut throat viciousness. He was like an eagle amongst hawks.

I have an understanding that long association begets familiarity and could bring about a transfer of virtues and behavioral change. For most of the time I knew the couple , they were a constant study for me.

Mrs. Olufunke Agagu created HANDEF and she carried the same attitude as her husband. I remember asking her the first day I met her if the NGO she formed was really sincere and if it will last the distance. Her answer was just as simple as herself. She gave me a smile, and said she hoped the NGO will outlive her existence.

Well it outlived their tenure in office and we were making plans to have a fairly grand 10th anniversary of the NGO come December 18th. Obviously that plan has bit dust now.

We are devastated by this loss of one we saw as a mentor, role model and Patriach. Dr. Olusegun Agagu infected us through his wife and our boss Mrs. Olufunke Agagu with his disciplined approach, compassion and generous spirit. It was thus not surprising to have an NGO headed by a personality like Mrs. Olufunke Agagu with a vision for a better world for persons with disabilities. A vision of constant distribution of wheel chairs in their hundreds, training and giving persons with disabilities dignity,, through vocational skills training, and avenues to succeed and be self reliant. Like two streams Dr. Olusegun Agagu and his wife flowed individually and jointly towards a common goal…..to serve humanity in gratitude to the Creator.

At HANDEF, we salute Dr. Olusegun Agagu, and send our thoughts to his wife our boss and hope that as the Eagle soars above, may his spirit find his path lit with the Divine Love and he soars to human kingdom of paradise.

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

SKILL ACQUISITION PROGRAM – ABSOLUTELY FREEEEEE!!!!!!

ARE YOU A PERSON LIVING WITH DISABILITY? ARE YOU BEING DISCRIMINATED AGAINST BY EMPLOYERS OF LABOUR? ARE YOU READY TO STOP SEARCHING FOR JOB AND RATHER BECOME AN EMPLOYER OF LABOUR YOURSELF? YOUR LIFE DOES NOT HAVE TO DEPEND ON THAT EMPLOYER OR ANY OTHER PERSON. TAKE THE BULL BY THE HORN, TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE BY AVAILING YOURSELF OF THESE GREAT FREE OFFERS.

Admission is now in progress into the following training classes.

  • Knitting
  • Sewing
  • Computer & ICT
  • Jewelry making ( Wire work & Bead work)

WHAT IS MORE? 

YOU WILL BE EMPOWERED WITH THE NECESSARY MACHINE OR CAPITAL TO START OFF WITH AFTER YOUR TRAINING.

Pick your free form at HANDEF Mobility Aid and Training Centre, Plot 6/13, Olusegun Obasanjo Way,(Ilesa Road), Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria.

HURRY WHILE THIS GREAT OFFER LAST!!!

ATTITUDE OF PEOPLE TO THE DISABLED

“Ooh! She is the god daughter of the oracle”, “Jeez! What a pity he’s a cripple”. These and many more similar expressions show either what people think about people living with disability, or what their attitudes are towards them. I’ve read lot of books and article that discussed the issue of disabilities. For instance, the book – Elements of Special Education by Peter A. Eyanro – says that generally, most people simply sympathize and pity the disabled. Others discriminate against them everywhere. Some people even treat them with contempt as if the disabled have some sorts of contagious diseases.
This was the case of one Mr. Emogbare who fell down and just could not walk again. What happened to him?
It was polio – myelitis that struck him down. When he eventually overcame the initial depression and shame he wanted to join his friends at play, the friends rejected him. They would not have him with them on the play ground. They just believed he did not belong to them anymore, because of his disability. He was treated by his friends as if he had a contagious disease.
Majority of people in the society do not appreciate the fate of the disabled people. This is because many people do not appreciate in themselves the gifts freely given to them by God. Such as the gifts of sight, limbs, speech, smell etc, and that is why most people therefore, margnalise the physically challenged people, despite efforts made to succeed in life, they are not in most cases rewarded with motivation or encouragement by the society.
Rather, in most cases, people merely pity and sympathize with them. However, not every disabled person wants to be pitied. They prefer empathy – the ability to share someone’s feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in their situation – rather than being pitied.
Not only that, some disabled people believe that everyone has problems and it is the way one handles them that make one overcome the problems or make the problem to overcome the person. Some of them also believe that in every disability, there is ability. As a result of this kind of philosophy, there are many disabled Nigerians today who have turned their disabilities to stars.
The force or factors that propelled them are courage, determination, hard work and positive self concept.
Where many have reclined and resigned into a life of beggary and hopelessness, some have become international figures. They have proved to all that truly, there is “ability in disability.”
Are you a person living with one form of disability or the other? Do you feel that it is the end of the world? Or perhaps you have a dream but do not know how to exploit the factors that will make you achieve those dreams? If you have these questions and many more related questions, please endeavor to always visit this blog for frequently updated motivational talks and experiences from people who have turned their disability into the envy of all.
…May you mount and soar like an Eagle

Imagine…our World

Welcome to our world. We would like to hope we will make friends here. We want to tell you about us, what we stand for, and what we hope for.

Every human being longs to feel it is has a friend somewhere and can chat with that friend. The human spirit naturally wishes for company. You know a need to hear his own voice bounce back to him from a corresponding voice. There is the understanding that the first cry of a child at birth was a call for attention. You probably don’t really remember that. But you know it is true, Imagine therefore the response to that first cry becoming a shudder of horror and the imminent rejection of love when a tiny hand is stretched.

Life itself promised nothing much at the first cry of a new born but a promise to present challenges. Man faces those challenges and struggles to identify his first name according to the level of those challenges. In the corner of our world, it might be slightly different so imagine this:

The cry of the newborn, the excitement of the mother as she suckles him, the heat of the room, the crowded relatives as they wonder if to kill the tethered goat and send emissaries to uncles and aunties. Then the naming ceremony, asking for the name of the child from the oracle. The long evenings when the mother rocks the child or straps him to her back as she manages her small farm to support her husband. The child has a temperature and is given some herbal drink. But the temperature persists. Since the birth of the child, they have not returned to the clinic or the mission house. There is anxiety but there is also no money.

Awareness of the importance of immunizations walks on crutches in my corner and now you know, the child becomes either visually impaired of physically challenged. In my corner of the world, he is in deep trouble. There is shame to overcome (as if it is his fault for becoming handicapped), there is confusion from his closest and loved, that is his family. His mother simply withers from within as she imagines a door to hope, peace and prosperity has been slammed shut. Fear and shame become twin brothers that walk in the family and slowly but surely anger at the gods and government.

Welcome to the world of the handicapped in our corner of the universe and the Human family.

Our story is not about gloom and doom. We would share with you stories of courage, enterprise, resilience and hope. We intend to share with you the vision of light in darkened room that made one woman determined to open the doors of life wider and brighter.

We would share the lives of the challenged members of our society. We will share our dreams, we would invite you into our world.

We would continue this conversation with you often and look to you for replies.

Welcome to our world. We would like to hope we will make friends here. We want to tell you about us, what we stand for, and what we hope for.

Every human being longs to feel it is has a friend somewhere and can chat with that friend. The human spirit naturally wishes for company. You know a need to hear his own voice bounce back to him from a corresponding voice. There is the understanding that the first cry of a child at birth was a call for attention. You probably don’t really remember that. But you know it is true, Imagine therefore the response to that first cry becoming a shudder of horror and the imminent rejection of love when a tiny hand is stretched.

Life itself promised nothing much at the first cry of a new born but a promise to present challenges. Man faces those challenges and struggles to identify his first name according to the level of those challenges. In the corner of our world, it might be slightly different so imagine this:

The cry of the newborn, the excitement of the mother as she suckles him, the heat of the room, the crowded relatives as they wonder if to kill the tethered goat and send emissaries to uncles and aunties. Then the naming ceremony, asking for the name of the child from the oracle. The long evenings when the mother rocks the child or straps him to her back as she manages her small farm to support her husband. The child has a temperature and is given some herbal drink. But the temperature persists. Since the birth of the child, they have not returned to the clinic or the mission house. There is anxiety but there is also no money.

Awareness of the importance of immunizations walks on crutches in my corner and now you know, the child becomes either visually impaired of physically challenged. In my corner of the world, he is in deep trouble. There is shame to overcome (as if it is his fault for becoming handicapped), there is confusion from his closest and loved, that is his family. His mother simply withers from within as she imagines a door to hope, peace and prosperity has been slammed shut. Fear and shame become twin brothers that walk in the family and slowly but surely anger at the gods and government.

Welcome to the world of the handicapped in our corner of the universe and the Human family.

Our story is not about gloom and doom. We would share with you stories of courage, enterprise, resilience and hope. We intend to share with you the vision of light in darkened room that made one woman determined to open the doors of life wider and brighter.

We would share the lives of the challenged members of our society. We will share our dreams, we would invite you into our world.

We would continue this conversation with you often and look to you for replies.