Rotary International, District 9110 on Saturday presented wheelchairs to about 20 beneficiaries in Lagos.
During the presentation, the District Governor, Mr Remi Bello commended the Wheelchair Committee for the efforts and also advised the beneficiaries not to trade or transfer the wheelchairs.
“I don’t always accept the word disability because there is ability in disability. I know this because we believe in your ability and that is why we have decided to empower you.
“Rotary is taking it upon itself to eradicate polio but you know we can’t do that without having people with challenges. We will, however, always do our best to support you,” he said.
The Chairman of the Committee, Mr Tunde Ezichi who is also a former Assistant Governor of Rotary, said it wasn’t easy selecting beneficiaries and commended his committee members and donors for putting smiles on the beneficiaries’ faces.
“The objective of Rotary is basically service to alleviate suffering of various people.
“You may be physically challenged but that doesn’t mean you cannot be functional and part of our task is to ensure your functionality and make sure your disability doesn’t stop you from living your life to the fullest.
“There are lots of disabled people around the world, especially in Nigeria. We can’t do it all but this is the beginning so let’s thank God, our District Governor and everyone instrumental to the accomplishment of this task,” he said.
The chairman added that Rotary International sought for many but was able to secure 30 wheelchairs from donors who included individual Rotary members, private organizations and well-meaning individuals.
He said that 19 of the wheelchairs were given out and that other beneficiaries were being expected as the committee had mandated beneficiaries to appear in person to receive them.
Dr Oladeinde Shoga, a former Deputy Governor of Rotary, said mobility was a right for all persons but people became temporarily or permanently unable to exercise this right for various reasons.
“We all know as human beings that mobility, the ability to move around, to be in a place you desire to be without seeking anyone’s help, is a basic need, indeed a right for all.
“In restoring this right to most disabled persons, wheelchairs occupy a place of pride among the most popular mobility aids coming in different sizes for children to adult size with various modifications and adaptations.
“Rotary’s romance with persons with disability dates back several years. More than 100 years ago, Rotary’s founder, Paul Harris, focused on some interest by helping children with disabilities and encouraged clubs at the time he was President to develop projects that addressed their needs.
“In 1921, he served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Society of Children with disabilities. Indeed the first donation of 500 dollars by the Rotary Foundation was to the American society for crippled children,” he said.
Dr Shoga further congratulated the District Governor and the Wheelchair committee on the successful organization of the project, adding that Rotary could take the gesture to a higher level.
“Grow more and do more as we serve to change lives,” he said.
Mr Olugbenga Kuye, District Coordinator for Polio Rescue, said he also assisted in vetting the authenticity of the beneficiaries which he added was a difficult task as a lot of individuals needed wheelchairs.
“We survived polio because we didn’t die but then we are left with a disability. We will manage it for the rest of our lives. We really appreciate Rotary for this gesture because a lot of us find it difficult to move around.
“Those who are getting it now are really in need of it because I did a thorough job. A lot of people applied but only limited people could get,” he said.