A Kaduna-based non-governmental organisation, Knowledge For The Blind Initiative (KFBI) has empowered some wives and daughters of blind beggars as a deliberate effort to reduce the numbers of beggars in Kaduna’s back and major streets.The women learned how to make everyday small chops like cupcakes, doughnuts, popcorn and puff-puff. They were also empowered with basic business skills.
The best trainee received a set of energy-saving stove while all of the trainees will be given a small grant of N7,000 each to kick start their home enterprise leveraging on their existing kitchen utensils.
In the next six months, each trainee is expected to be mentored to build her savings culture and place her family on a sure path of building wealth and saying goodbye to poverty.
One of the trainees simply identified as Aisha who went blind in Kano two years ago said, she was optimistic about dropping her ‘white cane’ for begging and putting her new skills to use to earn a living and take care of her children.
“I became blind while in Kano two years ago and life has not been the same ever since. With this knowledge, I will start the business and I know with the support of my children, we will grow it to be real self-reliant”, she said.
Speaking on the sideline of the two weeks on vocational skills in Sabon Tasha, Kaduna, the Executive Director, Knowledge for The Blind Initiative (KFBI), Andrew Gani-Ikilama said, “what informed this training was our experience in the past 15 years when we discovered that the visually impaired women face double of what their men counterpart face.
“So we decided to focus on the women and empower them with survival knowledge and skills with the provision of basic equipment that they can use to start businesses for themselves with low technology so they can free themselves from the circle of poverty associated with their condition.
“This is a four-week training programme but we compressed it into two weeks; they come and learn for three to four hours each day. At the end of the training, we will support them with start-up capital since they can run the business from their existing kitchen.
“Don’t also forget the saying that when you teach a woman, you teach a nation and that is the summary of our idea behind this training of visually impaired women. We are teaching them how to fish, build wealth for themselves and then help their families as against the idea of begging for alms”, he added.
Coordinator, Women for Hope, and Chef Trainer, Hassana Adams described the response of the trainees as “awesome”.
“The response has been awesome as they are already making plans on how to start on their own once they are able to access the start-up fund.
“We want to keep them accountable and that is why we are going to have their data. It is also our desire to be sure they open bank accounts where they can save something at least quarterly.
“Though it is the first time I’m training this group of Nigerians, I look forward to a time I don’t see them begging on the streets anymore where they can live a dignified life and be financially included”, she hoped.