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SPEECH BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE SEDOO INITIATIVE

The Clergy, Personal Assistant to the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria on Job Creation, distinguished guest, friends and family. We are pleased to welcome you all to the dedication of The Sedoo Initiative for Children with Special Needs (SECHILD) Centre. I deem it most appropriate to do a preview of SECHILD and her future look.

In Nigeria, it is traditionally believed that a child born with abnormal development is from the spirit world or a snake incarnate and will bring a curse on the family. Many children with disabilities such as down-syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, and other deformities in some communities are either buried alive or thrown into the river to return to the spirit world and as a service of purification of the parents of such a child. The truth is that these beliefs and practices have more negative effects on the psychological and social status of these parents.

SECHILD is registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission under Part “C” of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 1990 as a not-for-profit, community-driven development and non-governmental charitable organisation committed to an often-neglected target group within the Nigerian society.

Strategic Objectives

·       To advocate for the rights of children with special needs and persons with disabilities

·       To provide and promote better delivery of special educational services/ development of children with special needs and persons with disabilities for more effective intellectual growth to create opportunities for self-actualization through sponsorships and trainings

·       To provide shelter and rehabilitation for children with special needs and persons with disabilities

·       To provide residence care, physio/occupational therapy, therapies for children with special needs and persons with disability to enable them attain their maximum potentials

·       To sensitize and raise awareness on the impact of non-inclusion of disabled person and educate and re-orient the general public on myths and local beliefs disabilities particularly on children with special needs their acceptance and inclusion

·       To educate parents/caregivers on the rights of children with special needs, the parent’s responsibilities while building capacity through counselling services, intervention, trainings and support programmes for them.

·       To stimulate the government of the rights of children with special needs and persons with disabilities within the framework of the national disability act.

In the last 40 years, the prevalence of Cerebral Palsy has risen to well above 2.0 per 1000 live births. Children with Cerebral Palsy and their ignorant families have over the years experienced neglect hence there seems to be no government, NGOs/CBOs or individual who have expressed specific interest in streamlining the special children for care and support services in Nigeria. The initiative is set in making a difference in the lives of children with cerebral palsy within the North-Central geographical zone including Benue, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger and Plateau States.

SECHILD was founded in 2011 by Kawan and Aondofa Anjira. Their involvement with Cerebral Palsy children began with the birth of their daughter Sedoo, in 2005 and Aondofa in 2007 when they were diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. Sedoo (to whom this organization is named) died at the age of twenty months while Aondofa, turned six years old yesterday Friday January 18, 2013. The absence of professional assistance and support centre’s for the specific conditions of these children have been the driving force behind the establishment of the SECHILD Centre.

As parents of Sedoo and Aondofa, two children with Cerebral Palsy, Kawan & Aondofa empathize with families in similar situation in their pains, frustrations and hopelessness. Their desire therefore, is to create a community of support and opportunities for these children, to re-orientate those who see them as gifts from the devil; that their indiscriminate killing could be minimized since every child is beautifully and uniquely created for a purpose.

SECHILD Centre is created because of the need for a comprehensive resource, to be a compassionate voice for all things related to Cerebral Palsy. It is a care centre for parents and caregivers of children with special needs; it is a place where these people can turn to for needed non-legal help and inspiration.

The SECHILD Centre is solely relying on you, other public-spirited individuals and corporate bodies for its activities. Your presence here today gives hope and the conviction that parents and indeed families of children with special needs are not alone. Your support to SECHILD would give pain relief to children with special needs, it would give their families hope and most importantly, your donation would give the SECHILD family nights, sleep.

Your support would provide one hour of ‘SECHILD Care’ that is, therapy that we give without any money to pay for it. It might be the hour a child learns to take their first step, sit independently, dress or feed by him/herself. Each of these hours of ‘SECHILD Care’ comes because generous people like you believe in the uniqueness of our children. For that we say thank you.

We at SECHILD Centre know these children have potentials like other children. We work with the child and the family/caregiver to see improvement in their challenges. Thanks to donors like you, we would stay true to our turn vow not to turn a child who needs our care just because their family cannot pay the cost of our care.

Thank you for the passion, generosity and good will you always demonstrate. May the Lord bless you bountifully for being part of the SECHILD Canter.

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