By Lawrence Nwimo
A World Bank project costing N8 million has been dedicated to the people of the Urum community in Awka North local government area, Anambra state. The projects which included, five lock-up shops and a skill acquisition centre were anchored by the Anambra state Community and Social Development Agency, ANCSDA, in collaboration with Obioma Vulnerable Group of Urum, Anambra state.
The skills acquisition centre commissioned and dedicated to Obioma Vulnerable Group, Urum will avail vulnerable individuals in the community the opportunity of being trained in many handwork skills including soap making, sewing, computer training, bead making, shoe production, among others which could provide beneficiaries with the real source of livelihood.
Speaking at the dedication program, the operation manager of Anambra State Community and Social Development Agency, ANCSDA, Mrs. Uche Nwaizugbo said the body utilized a Community-driven development approach to see to the success of the projects having engaged in the building of many projects in the community including toilets, corps members lodges, markets, and boreholes, among others.
While Mrs. Nwaizugbo specifically noted that the lock-up shops and the skills acquisition centre were sponsored by the World Bank, she pointed out that the target group for the projects were vulnerable in the society, including the physically challenged, jobless as well as the people who, if they are not assisted, will be street beggars.
Nwaizugbo said the agency was motivated to embark on the projects by the level of interest the community exhibited in the project. “What we do is community-driven development projects so the group was supposed to lead the process because it is their own. So, they have to participate in that ownership by paying 5%, then we brought the balance as an assistance to the group.”
Aside from the Obioma Vulnerable Group, she said the agency had also assisted the entire community complete six micro-projects and has assisted communities in 12 local governments of the state with over two hundred and fifty projects in less than two years.
Also speaking, Awka North Social Welfare Officer, Mrs. Juliana Okoyeocha urged indigenes of the Urum community, especially the jobless and vulnerable, to leverage on what has been provided in the community adding that it was an intervention that would help curb unemployment in the area.
Earlier in his brief remark, Mr. Kenneth Ositadimma Madubuike, said that the project would help the community in the future adding that the disabled were known for begging but in recent times have proved they can engage in various aspects of production, business ventures, and even employers of labour.
Addressing newsmen at the occasion, chairman, Cooperative Empowerment of Nigerians with disabilities, Anambra state chapter, Emmanuel Obidimma Okafor expressed joy to have brought the project home to his community. Okafor who is also the director, Obioma Venerable Group urged the state government to do more to help persons with disabilities in the state. He stated that the association of disabled in Anambra state has resolved never to embark on the street begging to earn a living but to engage in gainful ventures.
Secretary, Association of Persons Living with Disabilities, Chukwuma Ifeoma, was full of joy at the project and the empowerment gesture aimed at empowering people living with disability. She assured that the disabled will make good use of the facilities reminding them that there is ability in disability and there is no human being God has created to beg.
Meanwhile, the President General Urum Development Union, Chief Alloysious Chijioke Tabansi, said the project would be highly beneficial to the vulnerable in the community even as he said the skill acquisition centre provided the youths and the disabled room for a feeling of belonging in the society.
Tabansi, who confirmed that the agency has executed three projects in the community said It is a very big opportunity for the disabled to open businesses of their own adding that it would not only be of help to them but also to their families, to the extent of employing others. Tabansi assured that the community has raised a committee to ensure the sustainability of the project in the community.