Children with special needs can contribute to national development – Aisha Buhari
Wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari has advocated for an enabling environment for children with special needs to contribute to national development. She made the statement at the closing ceremony of a week-long Training Programme for Teachers of Children with Special Needs in the FCT on Friday, June 22, 2018 at the School for the Handicapped, Kuje, Abuja.
She was speaking through the National Coordinator of Future Assured Programme, Dr. Kamal Abdurrahman Muhammad.
“Everywhere in the world” she said, “children with physical or mental disabilities are confronted with learning difficulties, but they need to reach their full potential and contribute to national development”
“There are highly specialized institutions and facilities to cater for their special needs,” She noted, “but for these institutions to function effectively, they need appropriate infrastructure, highly trained teachers and modern teaching tools.” She observed gaps especially in the use of modern technological tools and called on stakeholders and philanthropists to refocus and engage.
Aisha Buhari Foundation (ABF), she said, has the vision of improving the health and social status of women and children in this country, and with Education being one of the priority areas, ABF is focusing on special education in line with Sustainable Development Goal 3, which is about leaving no one behind.
She said the need to ensure that these children are not left behind led to the partnership with Nika Project to train their teachers on the use of modern technological tools. She expressed happiness that the teachers have learnt well.
Speaking earlier, one of the facilitators from Nika Project, Dan Philips expressed happiness with the rate of absorption by the teachers. “They have quickly adapted to these modern tools” he said, calling on them to go back to their classrooms and impart on the children what they have learnt. He called for the expansion of the project to cover teachers from the whole nation.
Dr. Shola Faniran, a UAE- based Developmental Paediatrician, another facilitator pointed out that the rate of disability in Nigeria is huge with 15% of all 5 – 15 year old children in Nigeria having some form of disability, she restated the need to engage these category of Nigerians with knowledge and skills, reiterating the need to start early so as to reduce the impact of the disability.
The training was attended by teachers from the School for the Handicapped, School for the Blind, School for the Deaf, Autism Center, and Institute for the Disabled.