In Nigeria, thousands of people are living with disabilities as a result of road accidents, polio or other diseases and crises.
In fact, Nigeria has the highest incidence of polio in the world, and is one of only three countries in the world still fighting to eliminate polio. Left untreated without the vaccine, polio can result in the deformity of ones legs. Many people with disabilities are marginalised and discriminated against by those who believe that disability is a curse. Sometimes they are even rejected by their own family members. This kind of neglect leads many people with disabilities into a life of isolation, poverty, and illiteracy.
Through Beautiful Gate Handicapped People Center, more men, women, and children with disabilities in Nigeria are being equipped to contribute to society and discover their potential. Beautiful Gate was founded in 1999 through the joint vision of Ronald and Sharon Rice from Seattle in the United States and Ayuba Gufwan from Plateau State in Nigeria. Their continued work is made possible through the generous support of the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation (MCIC). MCIC is providing two years of funding to Beautiful Gate through World Renew’s continued partnership with this Nigeria-based organization that serves the needs of those with disabilities.
Beautiful Gate provides support to people living with disabilities in order for them to become more self-reliant and better able to support themselves and their communities. Participants in the program receive encouragement to change negative worldviews and attitudes, so they can better understand their value, potential, and dignity. Beautiful Gate also provides disability aids such as wheelchairs, white canes, crutches, walking sticks, and prosthetics to people who need them. Those with the desire and ability to pursue vocational training have access to training and other education.
“Because of Beautiful Gate, my self-esteem has improved and my grades are strong."
Godiya is just one of the people whose life has changed for the better as a result of MCIC-supported Beautiful Gate. Godiya lives in a village in Adamawa State. She was born with disabilities and went through several challenges growing up in a community with a negative worldview about people living with disabilities. In spite of all odds, Godiya’s parents persevered and encouraged her to go to school. Without access to a wheelchair, however, Godiya, had to crawl on her knees and hands just to get to school. Despite the physical and psychological trauma she endured, Godiya did not give up.
After the death of Godiya’s father, her mother heard about the work of Beautiful Gate. Soon after, Godiya was enrolled in the program and received a wheelchair. Her life was greatly changed by the gift of a wheelchair and the opportunity to belong to a supportive, encouraging community. This support equipped her to go on to complete her high school education, and she is currently in the university pursuing a first degree in special education.
“Because of Beautiful Gate, my self-esteem has improved and my grades are strong,” said Godiya. “Thank you to all those who made these changes possible.”
Godiya dreams of graduating from university and securing a good job, so she can support her mother and also help others living with disabilities. She wants more people to understand that there is ability in disability, so their lives can also be beautifully transformed.