Phase3 seeks digitally enhanced life for special needs kids
By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria
West Africa’s largest independent fibre optic infrastructure and telecommunications services provider, Phase3 Telecom, has urged stakeholders in the ICT industry to offer children living with disabilities a better quality of life through the deployment of assistive technology.
Its Chief Executive Officer, Stanley Jegede, lamented that children living with physical/intellectual disabilities and indeed their immediate families go through untold hardship because they are marginalised in society on account of the circumstances they found themselves.
According to him, the practice of marginalising these special needs children is global, adding that the situation is however worse in the country. Jegede argued that the continued marginalization of these special kids is unacceptable as they have the right to respect, dignity and good standard of living as every human being should.
He said: “No matter the severity of their impairment or disability; it must be ensured that children and of course all persons with disabilities are able to meaningfully participate in all aspects of their lives from social, economic to political. The prejudice against these children and persons must be totally stopped and we all must collectively ensure their social and digital inclusion.
“A clear indication of such discrimination in the area of digital inclusion is the fact that despite the extraordinary growth in mobile and internet use worldwide, very little has been done to ensure that persons with physical and intellectual disabilities are included in the technology revolution.”
He spoke in Abuja shortly after the firm announced its partnership with Star Children Development Initiative (SCDI) to raise awareness and promote digitally enhanced good quality of life for children with disabilities as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme.
Jegede said Phase3 Telecom considers it a great privilege to partner with SCDI to raise awareness for the eradication of stigma while encouraging the social integration and digital inclusion of children with disabilities in Nigerian communities. He called on every individual to rise up against the discomfiting institutionalisation and discrimination of children with disabilities; as the world celebrates the upcoming United Nations Organisation (UNO) “International Day for Persons with Disabilities”.
SCDI is a Nigeria based charity organisation founded by Mrs. Grace Abimbola; to safeguard the well-being and raise awareness about the challenges faced by children of between 0 and 21 years and their families. SCDI works in partnership with other stakeholders to promote good quality of life and offer free services for these children.