By Temitope Akintoye,
A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Project Enable Africa, has disclosed that it has commenced door to door distribution of coronavirus food relief packages targetted at mitigating hardships caused by the Federal Government lockdown order on families of disabled persons in Lagos State.
The body said that the initiative was designed to provide food for families with disabled persons during course of the state-wide covid19 lockdown, and that it aimed at providing staple supplies for up to 1000 families resident within Lagos state.
The founder, Project Enable Africa, Olusola Owonikoko, said that the body had realized that many intervention programs had been conducted by government and well-meaning individuals without due focus being placed on persons living with disabilities in the state.
Owonikoko, through a statement released to newsmen on Monday, stated that Project Enable Africa had decided to fill the gap and provide food palliative packages for persons living with disabilities through a food drive organized to reach all regions of Lagos state.
The NGO boss revealed that the door to door food initiative contained sizable amounts of staple items such as rice, pasta, beans, garri, vegetable oil among others and that the distribution would be carried out across several Local Government Areas (LGA) of the state including Ajeromi Ifelodun, Igando-Ikotun, Apapa-Iganmu, Ikorodu and Alimosho.
“We realized a lacuna in many of the intervention programs in the country as many weren’t conscious of the community of Persons With Disabilities, who indeed are one of the most vulnerable at this trying time,”
“Our main focus is the digital and social-economic empowerment of Persons With Disabilities in Nigeria, and their successful integration into the workplace and the society at large. Earlier in March, we completed the first cohort of our 2020 digital training for PWDs just before the lockdown commenced, but with the overwhelming feedback from the community, we couldn’t shy away from the need for food we daily received, hence we had to come up with the COVID 19 Food Drive Initiative”.
The Head of Communications, Project Enable Africa, Lanre Olagunju, expressed appreciation to the Joint National Association of Persons With Disabilities, Lagos Chapter, for support received in facilitating success of the door to door food drive, and also to the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) for security provision, which he said had aided the palliative distribution in several communities of the state.
Olagunju, who led the delivery team across the state, called for support from well-meaning Nigerians through donations of food items or cash, in order to aid the NGO reach more disable families during the coronavirus lockdown period.
“In order to reach out to more people, in the face of this unexpected emergency, we have put forward a call for support in form of donation which could be in cash or food items so as to put decent food on the tables of more Persons With Disabilities and their families at this trying period, we have received support here and there, but if we must reach our goal of catering to 1000 families, we will require more support”, he said.
In response, one of the beneficiaries of the food palliative packages, Olugbenga, thanked Project Enable Africa conveners for the door to door initiative program and expressed his appreciation for the food items received by his family.
The visually impaired businessman who resides in Ikorodu area of the state, said that he was, however, apprehensive that the lockdown could be extended due to rising incidence cases in the state and that such lengthening of the stay-at-home order would have adverse economic effects on households such as his own.
Olugbenga urged other organizations to learn from the Project Enable Africa method and implement such door to door palliative distribution programs so as to adequately reach the vulnerable members of society.
“My fear is that if things continue at this rate, today, for instance, I heard that about 51 people have been infected in the last 24 hours, which implies that the lockdown might be extended at the expiry of this present one. Please more organizations need to employ the door to door approach by this NGO”.