ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT INITIATIVE
The aim of this initiative is to enhance the operational capability of the Foundation and ensure that PWAs live independent lives. Any strong community is an empowered one and empowerment is equivalent to strength. The foundation has a strong mandate to economically empower persons with albinism with vocational skills to not only enable them fit in to society and enjoy the same quality of life as every other citizen of the nation, but to ultimately contribute their quota to the advancement of their immediate community and over time, the larger world.
HARNESSING THE FULL POTENTIAL OF PERSONS WITH ALBINISM THROUGH ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT
It has been scientifically established that the reduced or absence of melanin associated with albinism does not in any way alter the brain capacity of an individual with albinism. The brain capacity and cognitive abilities of a person with albinism functions as normally as any other individual and persons with albinism can aspire as highly as anyone else in the society.
However, recent research has shown that many children with albinism are not in school, not because of their lack of mental ability, but because of visual impairment, discrimination from other children and social exclusion.*
This sad trend of events has therefore left a large percentage of untapped potential lying dormant in these children and even most adults who were denied the privilege due to the predominant myths of their time that sending a child with albinism to school was a complete waste of time and resources. The ripple effect of this is a less than thriving economy and a frustrated crop of active virile men and women seeking to contribute to a better society.
Over the years TAF has received tons of calls and letters from members expressing their frustration and inability to find suitable jobs. The frequency of these reports necessitated the foundation, in order to salvage the situation to a reasonable extent, seek organizations with whom to partner with in the area of economic empowerment.
Through the Millenium Development Goals (MDG), the foundation was able to carefully screen through its members and pick out mothers of children with albinism and other members, who needed it the most, for a vocational training at the Nigerian Army Officers Wives Association (NAOWA) Vocational Training Centre. Courses included Catering, Hair Care, Tailoring, Car Wash Trainings and other services.
Successful graduates were given the basic equipment to start business on a small scale.
However, projects like this are highly capital intensive and the foundation has been unable to continue the cycle.
Undoubtedly, this project is highly recommended as the power of being economically empowered cannot be overemphasized. It boosts self confidence as it helps breadwinners in families, single parent homes and as individuals able to take care of themselves. Being enabled to make a living and contribute to society doesn’t only make a difference, it makes a life.
*Knowledge, Attitude and Practices: Study on Children with Albinism in Nigeria; pp 1