Uri Ngozichukwuka, the resolute and articulate crusader advocate for inclusion of people with disabilities, is one of Nigeria’s most prolific campaigners for the rights of people with albinism, the often-misunderstood, inherited condition characterized by abnormally light skin, eyes, and hair, limited vision, and extreme sensitivity to the sun.
Uri Ngozichukwuka has been helping Nigerians with disabilities through her foundation, Empathy-Driven Women Initiative International (EDWIIN), a leading Nigerian non-governmental organization, with evidence of immeasurable impacts in Nigeria’s course of equal treatment of People Living With Disability, PLWDs
This year, the foundation focuses on people with albinism, and educate the people with the condition get an education, protect themselves from harmful ultraviolet rays, and fight pervasive myths and stigmas, including false beliefs, propagated by rogue witch doctors, that albino body parts can bring good luck or fortune.
Over the last decade, these superstitions have led to a wave of grisly albino killings, dismemberments, and even grave robberies. At least over 100 Nigerian albinos have been murdered, while others have survived attacks, often with severe mutilations.
She convened over 500 people with albinism, on Saturday, September 14, 2019 at the Palms Mall in Lekki, Lagos for the third episode of the annual EDWINUVCARE, a movement that focus on the advocacy for wholesome inclusion of Nigerians with disabilities, and embracing all forms of physical imperfections that may be tagged as odd.
This year’s program also raised the public awareness about the new Disability Act that was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on the 23rd of January, 2019.
Speaking at the event, Professor Fabamwo, a renowned Obstetrician and Gynacologist, and the Chief Medical Director LASUTH, discussed “The disabled, the law, his health”.
The medical expert, discussed the need to educate locals on albinism’s causes, debunk its many stigmas, and promote the well-being of the albino community, has already touched on the condition’s genetics, the recent attacks, and the many dehumanizing myths.
He also highlights policies and acts that have been passed and formulated by the Federal Government and the State to credit ample of preference for the people with disabilities at the state and federal level
He sighted that the key provision of this Act is that Persons with Disability are entitled to free medical care in every government-owned medical facility in Nigeria. Sadly, though, this key Provision has so far been observed only in the breach, as many Persons with Disability have been unable to access medical attention at these facilities without having to pay huge sums of money. He however, educated the participants on the procedure to benefit from the provisions.
He sighted cases of popular legends who were born with Disabilities but lived exemplary lives and became part of world history, sighting cases of Frida, Hobert Newton, Stevie Wonder and so on.
EDWIIN had in March, 2018 organized a Medical Fair of this kind to mark the 2018 International Year for Women. Then, as now, it enjoyed the active cooperation of the Lekki Palms management, which not only provided the venue, but also supported the event on many levels.
During the medical fair, EDWIIN provided special glasses and other aids to Persons Living with Albinism.
Mrs. Angela Emuwa, the current President of the Autism Parents Association of Nigeria, and Executive Director of the Punch Group of Newspapers, who serves as the Chairperson of the Day. I believe that people with disabilities are nor well recognized in the society, and I want that to change. I bekieve we are all the sane before God.
“I have a son with autism and I know what it’s like, but I don’t allow anybody to intimidate me, I just go out there and make sure that he’s accepted wherever he goes. So I love to associate with this kind of this because I believe that we need to wake up to the fact that people are different, so we all have to accept and understand our difference.
“While she commended the government for the approved disability act, she urged the general public to consider people with disability as human and to embrace them. This venture will make people realize we are all one, and I expect that this program will increase the awareness.
The annual event has in the past years enjoy the selfless support of The Palms Lekki, which has been making provision for venue for the EDWIIN programs
Unilever also supported with products which are made available for all participants
Zenith Bank provided glasses for PLWDs who have sight challenges, umbrellas sunscreens Omanama fabrics for runway, and Essenza beauty box for makeup.
Other sponsors include, Punch, Vanguard, The eye doctors TED, Dermatology Society Of Lagos
LASODA, Albinism Awareness Society, and LASUTECH