The Down Syndrome Foundation Nigeria ( DSFN) sporting activities are proven mechanisms to help improve social integration in the society and physical well-being of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) especially people with Down Syndrome.
CEO, Down Syndrome Foundation Nigeria (DSFN), Rose Mordi made this assertion spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, on the sideline of the 11th annual Inter House Sports of DSFN.
The inter house sports took place at the Igbobi College Yaba field Friday.
“The Foundation y organised the annual sports event to get persons with down syndrome socially integrated into the society and enjoy life like other people.
“We want them to have a sense of belonging like other people and to enjoy themselves.
“A lot of them are very introverted; some of them are timid because they have not been allowed to be socially integrated.
“If you see our young ones, you see how active and interactive they are and this makes them to build up confidence and competitive spirit like every other person.
“This improves their well-being,” Mordi told NAN.
She urged governments to support their efforts as only organisations and individuals supported their work and sporting activities with physically and mentally challenged persons.
She also called on the Federal Government to implement the Disability Bill which has been signed to cut across all sectors of PWDs.
According to her, if the law is implemented, it will cut across all clusters and not just a selected group.
“Government should take their responsibility by working with us, now that the disability bill has been put in place but remaining implementation.
“And if they implement it , it should cut across all clusters.
“It won’t just be for a selected group. It will cut across all clusters if the right structure is put on ground,” she said.
Ojo Sunday, Head, Education and Social Services of the Foundation, Sunday, said: “Sports help with their social integration in the society and also to promote their physical well-being.
“Their social skills in the society will also be enhanced. It will also prepare them for competitions in sports especially as there is a body called Special Olympics in charge of sports for persons who are physically challenged.’’
Also, Joseph Obah, Chairman, Parent Teachers Association, PTA, Joseph Obah told NAN that as PWDs especially those with down syndrome, they are human beings who needed sports as energiser and to awaken their senses.
“If sport is important for human beings generally, it is even more important for children with special needs because it is going to strengthen and make them stronger,” he said.
Obah said that government was not doing as much as they should.
However, he commended the Lagos State Government for creating a department in one of its ministries – the Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs (LASODA), to take up affairs of people with special needs.
He also called on governments to support facilities like the Down Syndrome Foundation with funding and equipment to promote what they were doing.
David Akerele, 28-year-old man with Down syndrome, said he was happy with the sporting event as it made them have a sense of belonging like persons who were not with physically or mentally disabling condition.
Also, Wunmi Olufudipe thanked the organisers of the event for believing in them and making them happy.
Olufudipe call on the government and society not to neglect persons with Down syndrome as they are also human.
NAN reports that Atunda Olu School for Physical Challenged, Surulere; Modupe Cole Memorial ,Akoka and Lady Atinuke Oyindamola.DS