People with disabilities are routinely excluded from health, education, livelihood opportunities and the chance to fully participate in their communities. CBM works in partnership with the Disability Movement at all levels to promote inclusion. Their life-changing community development programmes across Africa and Asia establish the foundations for inclusion, improve access to inclusive education, employment and healthcare, and improve quality of life for women, men and children with disabilities and their families. They use evidence and learning from our community-based work to support the disability movement in advocating for inclusive national laws and policies and achieving global change.
CBM has been partnering with Elim Vocational Training Centre for more than 15 years to improve the lives of people with disabilities in Benue State, Nigeria – ensuring they have better access to health, social, educational, economic and political services.
CBM and Elim have been enabling students with disabilities to attend mainstream schools. This includes training teaching assistants to support students with disabilities, such as sign language interpretation to support students who are deaf or hard of hearing and guidance on the use of braille and slates to support students who are visually impaired.
“I want to study law in the university… I want to be a lawyer because I want to defend the rights of the poor and people with disabilities.”
Possible was one of the first students to be enrolled at an inclusive school established by CBM and Elim in 2010. He was immediately given access to resources like braille papers and stylus, as well as receiving support from teaching assistants.
“I work in this school to guide them how to write with braille… and also help them copy notes and explain what they do not understand in the class.”
Reuben works as a teaching assistant in one of the inclusive schools supported by CBM and Elim in Nigeria. He became visually impaired himself through a work accident and now provides support to visually impaired students.
CBM and Elim have been working to ensure people with disabilities have access to employment through vocational training and providing resources to aid people in setting up their own businesses (e.g. microcredit).
“I received a microcredit for business from Elim. I also received a cutlass and hoe. I have also started weaving, I make baskets and brooms for sale.”
Ten years ago, Job contracted an eye infection, which led to visual impairment. This made it challenging for him to secure employment. Thankfully, Job began to receive support from Elim and has been able to set up a successful business and support himself and his family.
“When I finished my training, [Elim] bought me this knitting machine that I am using right now. I make children’s wear like cardigan, pants and shorts, socks, shawls… I am supporting my family”
When Blessing was 15 years old, she fell from a mango tree and sustained a spinal cord injury. As well as livelihoods support and training from CBM’s partner, Elim, Blessing receives regular physiotherapy sessions.
CBM and Elim have been providing rehabilitation services, such as physiotherapy and assistive devices, to people with disabilities in Nigeria – helping to improve and maintain people’s mobility and their ability to carry out day-to-day tasks and have the best possible quality of life.
“I go to the field where we do rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities… We do this because there are some persons with disabilities that may not be able to come to the clinic for treatment and the reason is the terrain is very bad. There is lack of mobility to convey them to the clinic centre to have adequate treatment, so in that case I go to the field.”
Samuel has been working as a physiotherapist with Elim for the past five years. He works with people living with disabilities, helping to improve their mobility and quality of life.
Samuel often visits patients at home, travelling by motorbike to hard-to-reach, rural communities – offering services to people in the Igede region, which has about 400,000 inhabitants spread over 235 villages. Samuel also helps families understand disability and challenge social stigma around disability.
“It was Elim who gave me this wheelchair… With the help of the wheelchair, I can go from one place to another…”
About two years ago, Paul was diagnosed with a disease that affected his spinal cord leading to quadriplegia: paralysis affecting his both arms and legs. He was a schoolteacher before the diagnosis but immediately lost his source of income, leaving his wife as the sole provider for himself and his three children.
Elim provide practical support for the family, such as providing food and a wheelchair to aid his mobility, and visit him at home to do regular physiotherapy sessions to prevent the condition from worsening.