I remember, back in my university days, one of my lecturers asked, “Celine, what are you going to do about your physical appearance, now that you are getting towards your graduation from the university?” I told him I did not have any idea of what he meant. On trying to explain, he made me understand that people feel irritated seeing individuals with disabilities. He told me that it is even worse when the individual is a woman. If it’s a man, he can be managed, but for a woman, it is unthinkable and unacceptable, he explained.
Experience has shown that empowering women with disabilities can help them become independent and assist them to be fully contributing members of their societies. It can turn around their lives and make them indispensable individuals in their professions.
I am a living example of what empowerment can do to help women with disabilities overcome challenges.
I am ever grateful to World Pulse for giving me a platform through which I receive and can share my empowerment with others in my country and with the world. I speak for myself and advocate for other women with disabilities, and I am fully contributing to the development of individuals’ lives, my community, and Nigeria.
From the last time I gave an update till now, I have recorded a lot of achievements for my project. I have a wonderful and motivated team of mentors who are all assisting me a great deal. We’ve met several times, and I have gained a lot of quality learning from my team members.
Together, we’ve accomplished the following:
My organization's new logo!
Presentation: Wow, Divine Foundation for Disabled Persons now has a template we can use to make presentations. Our presentation identifies who we are, our vision, and our mission in Nigeria.
Activities: On December 3, International Day for Disabled Persons, I made a nationwide statement to Nigerians. My statement revolved around the theme of Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want. My statement was even aired by two radio stations!
On December 10, 2016, which was Human Rights Day, I made a verbal presentation to more than 70 activists in Lagos. I was able to use my new presentation as the basis for my talk. I asked for and was granted the opportunity to sensitize activists on the need to protect, defend, and stand up for the 11 million individuals living with disabilities in Nigeria. The theme: Stand Up for Someone’s Right Today was so appropriate.
We made several visits to a centre for rehabilitation for the blind in Lagos. On November 19, 2016 I gave an inspiration talk to 15 women at the Centre. Again on November 24, I was invited to introduce the women to World Pulse, our online platform. I gladly grabbed the opportunity. With 17 women and their instructor, we navigated the new World Pulse website using Job Access With Speech (JAWS). What a learning experience for me too! The women, including an administrative staff who registered immediately, were joyous to know about World Pulse. The instructor promised and has been gradually assisting the 17 visually impaired women to join the network.
Since my first visit on November 13, I have assisted in getting some food stuff for feeding the inmates at the centre. I also assisted in processes for empowering individual women at the centre.
Today, I have changed the perspectives of my professor from university—and the perspectives of many others. They now know that women with disabilities are not limited by what society thinks of them; we change stereotypes.
Despite many great challenges, women with disabilities are capable of changing society—and the world!