Children with disabilities in Nigeria face cultural, economic and social barriers from within and outside the education system that directly or indirectly impact their ability to get a high-quality education, such as, for instance, discrimination based on disability, stigma and attitudinal barriers; internalized family misconceptions about children’s ability to learn. People or children with disabilities are among the vulnerable population in the Nigerian society.
They face stigmatization and are particularly at risk of being left behind. Health indicators in Nigeria are some of the worst in the African Continent. With its rapidly growing population and development challenges, the Country drags down the socioeconomic indicators for the entire African continent. Achieving SDGs – in particular number 3 (good health and well-being) – remains a challenge. Poverty is still pervasive with 53.5% of the population living at less than USD 1.9 a day. UNICEF reported in a recent document that “preventable or treatable infectious diseases such as malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea, measles and HIV/AIDS account for more than 70% of the estimated one million under-five deaths in Nigeria”. In the Country there is a mix of problems including inaccessibility of quality health care, poor hygiene, malnutrition, lack of access to drinking water, poor health infrastructure, lack of sufficient health personnel. The annual budget of the Nigeria Government for the health sector is 4.17% of the total national budget, which is equivalent to only $5 per person per year. Health insurance is not available for most parents, and when available, it may still not cover chronic and long-term care for children. This exposes parents to huge costs of care for their children with disabilities.
Therefore, a mixture of stigma and psychological and financial burdens have combined to prevent many children and adolescents from having the opportunity for any form of intervention, either medical or special education services, despite the existence of the federal law that promises equal opportunities for every Nigerian child.
AIM OF THE PROJECT:
For all the above-mentioned reasons, FMSI Project “A new Hope for Hopeville”, supported by of one of FMSI major Donors, has a preventive value for children and young people with disabilities, to enable them to have the opportunity to complete all levels of education avoiding discrimination and stigma. In fact, beneficiaries live in the Centre, but they attend Secondary Schools and Vocational training courses nearby with their peers without disabilities, helping in avoiding discrimination and social stigma. The Project is under implementation in the Hopeville Rehabilitation Centre, located in Uturu, and will contribute to enhance respect for persons with disabilities, to promote meaningful participation and empowerment of persons with disabilities, to ensure the rights of children with disabilities and accessibility as a fundamental human right, with a special focus on SDGs 4 and 10. All the 45 children beneficiaries hosted in the Hopeville Centre come from families in economic vulnerable conditions that cannot provide to their education and health necessity. Some of them are orphans, others semi-orphans and even those who have both parents are still housed at the centre because the family is unable to provide for the child’s needs.
In the long term, thanks to Project implementation, the beneficiaries will be able to be productive and contribute meaningfully to the society and to build self-esteem, self-confidence and self-worth.
THE PROJECT IN BRIEF:
The proposal main goal is to empower children and youth with disability through equity of access to quality education in order to provide beneficiaries with the same opportunities as their peers and to reduce stigma.
THE PROJECT IN NUMBERS:
- 91 direct beneficiaries
- 400 indirect beneficiaries
- 1 Rehabilitation Centre involved
- 1 Behaviour change Program to sensitize on children with disabilities’ rights and safeguarding in order to promote disability inclusion
- 1 Teachers training on capacity building to effectively implement inclusive education programs for children and young people with disabilities
- 20 wheelchairs purchased
- 30 pair of crutches purchased
- 6 desktop computers purchased