Increase PWDs in agric projects, El-Rufai urged

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Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna state has been urged to increase the number of People living With Disabilities (PWDs) as beneficiaries in agricultural intervention projects in the state. 
Dr Busra Zakariya’u made the call during an interactive meeting on Harmonisation of Needs Assessment and Formulation of Livelihood Package for People with Disability and Special Needs (PWDSN) organised by the Kaduna state coordinating office of Agro-Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Support Project (APPEALS) project.

Dr Busra, who served as the Technical Resource Person for Women and Youth Empowerment Programme (WYEP) on Tuesday, explained that there is need for the state government to double the number of PWDs in the APPEALS project from 85, or at least increase it to a reasonable number to enable more PLWD benefit from the project and maximize their potentials in farming. 

Chairman of Joint Association, National Association of People with Disability Kaduna state, Suleiman Abdul-Azeez, however commended Kaduna state government for its diligence in handling the project. He noted that they felt sidelined from the program, but having seen the kind gesture of participation from the state government, they are excited that they are not also relegated.

“I feel honored to be part of this engagement today because we were meant to understand that people with disabilities are being carried along with the program despite that it is a long awaited program. Because people with disabilities have not been called to participate all these while, we thought that we were being sidelined or excluded from the program. But today, it has come to a reality that we are part of the program and we are going to benefit,” he said.

Suleiman also expressed dismay that people with disability face a lot of challenges in the area of cash and business engagement for livelihood, noting that people with disability live at the mercy of the society.
“When you wake up in the morning, the first person you see is somebody with a disability, going out in search of greener pastures. Most of the challenges that people with disability face in this country is lack of capital and business engagement, but this support or grant coming from APPEALS project will really help people with disability to have something to do to earn a living,” he added.

Kaduna State Project Coordinator, Dr. Aminu Yahaya, who was represented by Reuben Teddy, stated that the project document captures people with disability, with 5-10%  reserved for them. 
“We want them to live their normal lives because they are human beings like us. Why the program is giving them special attention is that some of them cannot even meet their needs, but by the time they are supported by this grant, they would be able to go into viable business that will help them move and pay their children’s school fees,” he said.

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