Video: Disability is in the heart; Differently Able

 #ImAble - The International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports (IWAS) Junior Games will once again take place this year from 1st to 8th August 2014. The Games will be hosted at Stoke Mandeville Stadium in the UK, the birthplace of the International Paralympic movement.

 Entries from 350 athletes accompanied by 150 support staff, from 32 countries, have been received and they will compete in seven sports which include Archery, Athletics and Race Running, Powerlifting, Swimming, Table Tennis and Wheelchair Fencing while Para-Taekwondo will be included as an exhibition sport. Athletes between the ages of 14 and 22 will be competing at the Games, which will serve as an ample opportunity to participate in the upcoming Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

The IWAS games is important and through the Paralympic Committee of Nigeria and People With Disability Initiative, an Abuja based NGO, a Nigerian Paralympic contingent, supported by Sir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF) has been assembled to fly the Nigerian flag and take part in this all important generational cum epochal event. Nigeria’s David Ombugudu will be vying for Table Tennis gold while Emmanuel Godwin will participate in weightlifting.

Disability is a function of the mind-set, I can do anthing with my life if I pick up the challenge. I have no legs but I can make something out of my life, I can even do better than someone with legs

...is how Emmanuel feels.

Both athletes are under 23 Gold Medallists and polio survivors who are living testimonies that there is ability in disability.The Nigerian contingent will be led by Sir Emeka Offor, Rotary International Polio Ambassador in Nigeria and founder of the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation. Sir Emeka has set polio eradication as a foremost priority not only for Nigeria but for  the remaining endemic countries as well.

To date, Sir Emeka has funded over US$3 million to Rotary International Polio Plus programme - the largest global public health programme. The world must remain committed in order to achieve a polio-free world. If we don't stay the course, experts say polio could rebound to 10 million cases in the next 40 years, and would negate the billions invested in the initiative.

SEOF will be launching a new program called “Differently Able”, during the IWAS Games. Differently Able will focus on assisting polio survivors in Nigeria.

SEOF has provided financial support (2.6 million Naira) to the Nigerian Paralympic team to enable them to take part in the 2014 IWAS Games. Differently Able will assist those who have survived polio to fly higher socially, physically and professionally.

Sir Emeka while leading the Nigerian Paralympian team to Stoke Mandeville wishes them a successful outing and in the spirit of the Games, charges all to be worthy ambassadors of the country by bringing home medals.

 

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Sir Emeka Offor to send Nigerian Paralympians to IWAS Games

 

Written by Dr. Edwin Ndukwe

Barely weeks away from now, Sir Emeka Offor, Rotary International Polio Ambassador to Nigeria, a businessman turned Philanthropist takes a team of Nigerian Paralympians to Stoke Mandeville Stadium, in Buckinghamshire, England, the venue for the International Wheelchair & Amputee Sports (IWAS) Junior Games.

The 2014 Junior Games will mark the 10th year feature of the IWAS since its inception in 2005. With over 250 registered athletes from 25 different countries including Nigeria, and seven distinct areas of competition (Archery, Athletics, Powerlifting, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis and Wheelchair Fencing), the 2014 Under 23 Game is expected to draw the largest attendees, a statement credited to the IWAS organizing committee.

Nigerian Paralympians, David Ombugudu, a Table Tennis player and Emmanuel Godwin, a weightlifter, both under 23 Gold Medalist and polio survivors will have a chance of a lifetime to compete at the World Junior Games, courtesy of Sir Emeka Offor Foundation. Addressing a group of Nigerian Paralympians from People With Disability, an NGO based in Abuja during their visit to claim a sponsorship check at the Corporate Headquarter of Chrome Group, Sir Offor said, “Our Foundation is interested in supporting good projects especially when it has to do with polio survivors and disabled people. We’ll do whatever we can to help you because your success will encourage other survivors to develop confidence in themselves and come to the understanding that there is the ability in disability.”

“The fight against Polio starts with vaccines but the real challenge is in supporting those already affected by Polio. We want to let Polio Survivors know they are not alone or forgotten. We are here to help them through their daily struggles," Rosaline Agiamoh, Polio Ambassador Representative stated. When asked about other philanthropic areas of interest for Sir Offor, she said, “ The Sir Emeka Offor Foundation is becoming more robust in its project scope and will announce a number of new programs in the months ahead. What I can say is that we are currently focusing our efforts on health, education, and empowerment.

Disability has been described in the past, as “any restriction or lack  (resulting from any impairment) of ability to perform an activity in a manner or within the range considered normal for a human being”-WHO.   While that definition is traditionally accurate, the paradigm has shifted from its narrow concept of physical impairment to an expansive concept of functionality and capacity. It is not just about Mr. A. with traditional disability but also about all people. In the adoption of a new International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) system, it weighs performance against capacity. If capacity becomes greater than the performance, then removing barriers or obstacles as well as identifying facilitators must be employed to address that gap.

In Nigeria, like most developing countries, people with disability often face a lot of challenges including discrimination. In most situations, particularly with polio-associated disability, victims are often hindered from social integration because of superstition. But through the instruments of United Nations, the stories of people with disability, (like Engr. Augustine Onwuamaegbu, National President of Persons with Disability Initiative Nigeria) are turning a new page and their rights are being affirmed (their fundamental freedom and the guarantee of full enjoyment without discrimination), albeit at a snail pace when compared to other developed countries in the world.

Ambassador Sir Emeka Offor, a leading voice to END POLIO NOW in the world has donated over $3.1M to Rotary International for efforts geared towards polio eradication. Now, he demonstrates his willingness to support those who have been afflicted by Poliovirus in Nigeria. In his appreciation speech, Mr. Monday Emoghavwe– weight lifter & President Paralympic Committee of Nigeria, said “I thank Sir Emeka Offor Foundation for championing the cause of making people living with disability happy. Since I joined the Paralympic Committee, I have not seen or heard of any philanthropist or organization supporting persons with disability the way you are." He hopes that other businessmen could join in the effort of empowering the disabled. Engr. Onwuamaegbu followed by saying, “In supporting us, Sir Emeka Offor has become one of the leading independent supporters of People With Disability (PWD) in Nigeria.

Sir Emeka Offor Featured in British Fellowship Magazine

Manoj Soma, CEO of Choice International, BPF ambassador Anne  Wafula-Strike, MBE, Rotary International`s Polio ambassador Sir Emeka Offor and Freedom in  the Air’s Gautam LewisInternational action on Polio was top of the agenda recently, when representatives of The British Polio Fellowship attended a high level breakfast networking meeting with senior Polio delegates, at Rotary’s International Offices in London on the 30th May. Our ambassador Anne Wafula-Strike helped to ensure that the late effects of Polio and the issue of PPS were very much on the menu, with an impassioned speech to delegates, which prompted an unexpected and emotional response from many.

The event was hosted by Sir Emeka Offor, Nigerian businessman, philanthropist and Rotary Ambassador to Nigeria. Sir Emeka is Nigeria’s first ever Polio Ambassador. In addition to a significant delegation from The British Polio Fellowship, other guests included representatives from Rotary International, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Polio Children charity and all the leading lights in the fight against Polio

.Judith Diment, Chair of Rotary International Polio Advocacy Task Force gave an overview of the End Game Strategy, 2013-18 and the challenges facing the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in the remaining three endemic countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.

Judith reminded guests of the success in eradicating Polio in India enabling the SE Asia region to be certified Polio free in March. This means 80 per cent of the world is now Polio free. Judith also noted the recent success in Nigeria, as there have been only three cases of Polio in 2014 and the commitment of the international community expressed at the World Health Assembly in Geneva.

Sir Emeka delivered a measured, yet powerful speech and while not shying away from the very real problems faced by countries like Nigeria, demonstrated that hope for Polio eradication remains. Emeka also brought up the issue of supporting people Post Polio, which Anne and the delegation from The British Polio Fellowship were able to bring him and other attendees up to speed on. Some were not fully aware of the PPS legacy that Polio leaves behind and Anne was able to remind delegates that as in Britain, the fight against Polio will not end with the eradication, but rather a whole new challenge will be faced tackling the late effects of Polio and PPS in countries like Nigeria in years to come.

To read the rest of the article, please download the magazine softcopy using the the link below;

The Bulletin (The Official Magazine of the British Polio Fellowship)

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SEOF sponsors the Nigerian Paralympic Committee to the 2014 World Junior Games

The International Wheelchair & Amputee Sports (IWAS) Federation will be staging the 10th Under-23 World Junior Games at Stoke Mandeville Sport Stadium in the United Kingdom from the 3rd through the 8th of August 2014. The Games give opportunity to the world’s best young athletes with disabilities to compete in diverse games which used to be the exclusive reserve of able-bodied men and women. Athletes from the Nigerian Paralympic Committee will however be part of this all important event.

It would be remembered that in the last Paralympics Games, Nigerian athletes won six (6) out of the twenty (20) gold medals up for grabs. Going by records, majority of the participants from Nigeria are Polio survivors.

The effects of Polio cannot be over emphasized as it does not only leave physical disability in those who have suffered it but physiologically effects too, both the victims and those around them for one is either infected or affected. For these people, their hopes to carry on with life are dampened because they are not only faced with the daily challenges that life presents but also have to cope facing them with disability. In developing countries like Nigeria where there are no structures in place to cater for their special needs, many are left to their not so bright fate.

With the encouragement of men like Engr. Augustine Onwuamaegbu - National President of Persons with Disability Initiative Nigeria and Monday Emoghavwe – weight lifter & President Paralympic Committee of Nigeria, few people living with disability have taken their destiny in their own hands to make their lives worthwhile. These individuals have been trained in various sports and have been chosen to participate at the IWAS World Junior Games 2014 but due to lack of funds their hopes of being part of the Games appeared dim.

However, when the news of this great challenge got to the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF), its Founder Sir Emeka Offor who is also Rotary International Polio Ambassador in Nigeria, the athletes were invited to the headquarters of the Chrome Group. Sir Offor in recent past has made relentless efforts in the fight to eradicate Polio from Nigeria and indeed the world by his generous donations of over 3million USD to Rotary Polio Plus and through his Foundation has organized massive Polio Immunization campaigns. Determined to put smiles on the faces of these athletes who are Polio survivors and ensure the fulfilment of their dreams, he donated a whooping sum of 2.6million Naira to support them to the Games.

Sir Offor addressing the delegation comprising of Engr. Augustine Onwuamaegbu, Monday Emoghavwe, Kingsley Ezeadim, David Ombugudu, Emmanuel Godwin and Emmanuel Nweke said “Our Foundation is interested in supporting good projects especially when it has to do with polio survivors and disabled people. We’ll do whatever we can to support you because your success will encourage other survivors to develop confidence in themselves and come to the understanding that there is ability in disability.”

He said they should use the platform of the Paralympics Committee to reach out to other disabled people in the society especially those that desire to be better. He encouraged them to win the gold medals and come back as worthy ambassadors of Nigeria.

In his appreciation speech, Mr. Emoghavwe said “I thank Sir Emeka Offor Foundation for championing the cause of making people living with disability happy. Since I joined the Paralympic Committee, I have not seen or heard of any philanthropist or organization supporting persons with disability the way you are”. He asked for their visit to be publicized so that people will know what the Foundation is doing and others can join in the effort.

Sir Emeka Offor through his Foundation is not only going on to support the fight to eradicate Polio but has gone ahead to support Polio survivors to make living more meaningful.

 

 

 

Loretta Epuechi wrote via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

  

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