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Participants in the two-week training for Persons Living With Disabilities (PLWD) in Abia have appealed to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to extend the skill acquisition programme to more physically-challenged persons in the state.

The people made the appeal in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Umuahia at the end of their training on Wednesday.

NAN reports that the training was organised by the commission in conjunction with Bonnadum Development Foundation, a non-governmental organisation.

They expressed profound gratitude to NDDC for giving them the opportunity to learn a skill that could make them financially independent and contribute their quota to the nation’s economic growth.

They however said that there were many people in the state with disabilities yearning for similar opportunity for skill acquisition.

They therefore appealed to NDDC to sustain the training in order to accommodate more physically-challenged people in Abia.

Mr Stanley Onyebuchi, the state Chairman, Joint National Association of PLWD in Abia, commended the commission for the kind gesture, saying that the training would help to empower the participants and make them self-reliant.

Onyebuchi, who is blind and trained in purse making, said that commission should do well to extend the training to other members of the association.

Mr Wisdom Okechukwu, the Public Relations Officer of the association, also blind, described the training as “a dream that has come true.”

He said that it was an opportunity many of them had long desired to have, saying that they would remain grateful to NDDC.

“It is the kind of training we have been yearning for. With this kind of training, NDDC has helped to reduce poverty among the disable community,” Okechukwu, who trained in shoe-making, said.

Also, Ngozi Nwaguru, the Abia Woman Leader of the association, thanked NDDC for the training, which she described as “a life changing programme for PLWD.”

Nwaguru, who trained in make up, including pedicures and manicures, said that the training helped them “to acquire practical and professional knowledge in our various areas of specialisation.

“The training has opened our eyes to do business and make profit and we can now compete with others in the industry and still excel.

“It will go a long way to promote leadership and entrepreneurial skills among PLWD in Abia and Nigeria at large.

“It will also help to eradicate unemployment among PLWD and by so doing reduce poverty since poverty cannot be eradicated completely, Nwaguru said.

Mr Nwanosike ThankGod, who trained in the repairs of Cellphones, thanked God and NDDC for including him in the training, promising to make effective use of the skill he acquired to fend form himself and dependants.

ThankGod said, “The two-week training has impacted much skill and knowledge on how to repair cellphones in my life.”

He also underscored the need for NDDC to make the training sustainable in order that many PLWD would have the opportunity to benefit from it.

41-year-old Grace Eke, who is blind, also expressed gratitude to the commission for making it possible for her to realise her dream.

Eke, a graduate of Mass Communication, who trained in bead making, said that she had long yearned for an opportunity to learn a craft.

“It gives me joy to do things with my hands so I have to make good use of the training. It is what I have been desiring for, so I have to grab the opportunity.”

Miss Christiana Nwonah, 30, who trained in wig making, said that she would remain eternally grateful to NDDC for the pportunity they provided for her to learn a skill.

All the participants promised to deploy the skills they acquired in making themselves economically productive and self-reliant.

They also appealed to the commission to assist them with starter packs that would help them to take off and put the skill they acquired into practice.

In his closing remarks, the facilitator of the training, Mr Kenneth Amogu, expressed satisfaction with the level of enthusiasm exhibited during the programme.

Amogu also said that he was impressed with the products from all the participants in their various fields, which were exhibited at the end of the training.

NAN reports that the participants were trained in eight different skills, including bead-making, make up, confectionery, shoe and bag making, cellphone repairs, wig-making, ead-tie and auto gelled making and photography.

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