By Cleopatra Eki
Nigerian deaf teenagers have been urged to strive for greatness and rise above circumstances to achieve their dreams despite disability.
Treasures Uchegbu Convener, Speaking Fingers Network, made call at the Deaf Teens Summer Camp held at (CATY-Camp site) Assured Hope Schools Iyana Era ljanikin Lagos.
The one week event with a theme ” Explore Shine your light be the difference” a forum to remember in a life – time, full of fun , adventure, learning and leadership training. She said the aims of the camp is to bring different youth with hearing disabilities from different schools, communities and states to interact together, learning new skills and contribute their quota to national development. Uchegbu also emphasized that the forum also empowers them with opportunities, mentorship and networking without limitations.
She added that the participants had several activities such as community service, wild life exploration and discovery, vocational training, on shoes making, bead making, game, leadership training, exercises, self discovery and awareness talks.
In addition, they had other training on news casting, reporting, interview of guests, to debut SpeakingFingers Network TV, and dinner gala night.
Mrs Opeyemi Richardson Ovbiebo, Chief Executive Officer Blue Blooms Art World said “Arts is life , people can do alot with arts , making a lot of creative things with their hands. Musicians, doctors, artistes among others can tell their stories through creativity and have endeared people to love their crafts.”
As creative artist Opeyemi disclosed that she loves to work with children including disabled ones.” I teach them how to draw, paint art- work with different colour shades and to make beautiful hand beads with their names inscripted and home decorations”
In his story telling time, Special guest and visually impaired human rights advocate Mr Meshach Solomon told the participants of his 4 success tips as 4 Rs which are Reading, Relationship, Rest and Respect, he related how he combine them, by reading a lot of books and applying the knowledge, making and learning from healthy relationship from friends, families and others, respecting people regardless of tribe, backgrounds, class and lastly rest and unwind after a hard day job. He emphasised that “there is ability in disability,” they should be of good behaviour and morals. He advised government to concentrate on good governance, improve standard of living for citizens and provide enabling environment for businesses.
Lagos State Youth Ambassador and special guest, Olatunji Yusuf Kolawole urged Stakeholders work together with the society to tackle the obstacles, injustices and discrimination that persons with disabilities experience.
He promised to join other partners championing the course for people with disabilities through his platforms and ’ programmes.
As a youth advocate, he has done a lot of jobs on the social media spaces that has endeared him to Nigeria and International communities.
Mubarak Abubakar Olanrewaju, Creative Arts Director took the 30 participants through different canvas drawing and painting to express their moods and emotions.
Mrs Mauryn Nnamdi , Director, Assured Hope Schools and convener CATY Camp , said we will continue to support persons with hearing impairment in our schools and environment. We had amazing time interacting with them, they have alot to offer to our society.
Ebenezer Akinrinade, Lead, Speaking Fingers Network, Strategic communcations & development officer advised parents and stakeholders to learn sign language as “it is important for understanding of their children and wards.”
Mrs Oyegoke Damilola Sign language instructor and interpreter, urged government to provide more education and vocational training for people with disabilities.
She also coordinated and taught the deaf teens to do different designs of earrings, hands and neck beads.
We appreciate our royal father and monarch, Olu of Oregun, Oba Olukunmi Olusesan Akingbola, who had donated a learning centre within his palace to our NGO SpeakingFingers, for its LifeWorkReady Programme for Deaf Adolescents and Adult Back-to-School Functional Literacy classes at Oregun, lkeja Lagos since last year. We also appreciated the Monarch’s huge support at this camp. Among other speakers Mrs Adenike Oyetunde Lawal SA ,Thanks to Assured Hope Schools, friends families others gestures for supporting the hearing impaired persons.