Sickle Cell Anaemia Patients Rejoice In Anambra As NGO Pays Their School Fees, Bursary Allowances
Nov 12, 2015 – Sickle Cell Anaemia Patients Rejoice In Anambra As NGO Pays Their School Fees, Bursary Allowances
The word joy best described the mood of sicklers in Anambra State as Association of People Living With Sickle Cell Disorder (APLSCD) on Saturday, dispensed some fiscal cash equivalent to the tuition fees of 40 of their members in primary and secondary schools for 2014/2015 academic session.
APLSCD equally doled out what it termed ‘bursary’ to ten undergraduate students of the association, even as it promised to do more in nearest future.
Coordinator of the association, Aisha Edward, who freely disbursed the cash to her registered members stressed that it was part of her effort to champion the course of sickle cell disorder patients in the country before she could join her ancestors.
Her words: “This is an ecstatic moment for me right now I am so delighted to see this day. My heart is full of joy today. I believe that if I should die now, my heart will be led to rest. This is because it is first of its kind an NGO is embarking on scholarship on sicklers in Nigeria. My dream to cater for the welfare of my people relegated to the background by fake NGOs, government, society and some family members had been fulfilled. I found this association to reach out to Sickle Cell Disorder people in Nigeria at their various point of needs.
“We do the job for ingenuity, love and passion to save souls. I dispensed the cash to enable the dropouts to return to school. Some of these ones have been withdrawn from school voluntarily and involuntarily sequel to financial crisis… Apart from this cash, Our Association which is only 3 months old had secured 21 jobs for members in Anambra State, trained 10 on skills acquisition through the Anambra State’s First Lady’s CAFÉ, and we are not relenting till we wipe out the inhumane genotype from the faces of the earth through our intense sensitization and awareness programs, and as well as putting a long lasting smile on the face of my colleagues who are the suffers”, she Affirmed.
Edward further enjoined the government at all level, lawmakers, public and private institutions, tradition and religious institutions to key into their sermon of ‘no marital vow’ to intending couples whose genotypes are incompatible with a view to ending the proliferation of the sickle cell anaemia gene.
She also reiterated the needs for legislations to be made, enacted and enforced and for relevant stakeholders in the society to assist sufferers of the disorder through the association via training, empowerment and scholarship as that will encourage them to impact their society positively.
However, Edward regretted that Anambra State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development had constantly turned deaf ear to their gathering, wondering how they would easily discover their needs having find it difficult to fulfill their promises to attending their programmes “considering series of letters for both appeal for support and invitations to our programs, Thanksgiving and stakeholders meetings”.
Her words: “I invited the Anambra state Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, and their counterpart, Ministry of Health but none turn-up as they promised to be on attendance. It is highly regrettable because we, the sicklers are their children. When I went to the ministry to invite them, one of the top officials their claimed to have adopted two sicklers and she suffers to donate blood to them always. I pitied the woman thinking that her suppose experience will make her shower us with love and care but reverse is the case.
“She had never attended our meetings, church services and events. I wonder if it is when I die, or when we loose our husbands that they will come to our aide. This is because each time you visit the ministry you will keep hearing of how many widows they responded to their clarion calls. May be because most us are not married while some married ones have no late husbands, that is why they chose not to associate with us at all.
“On the other hand, Ministry of Health is our father ministry but they always shun our activities even when the commissioner is unavoidably absent because of his tight schedules, the department responsible for our management are nowhere to be found despite my efforts to inviting them to come and witness what is happening to the patients under their care. We do not know our offence. We are pleading to them to consider us. We need them to stop the scourge of proliferation of sickle cell, psychological traumas and stigmatisation we are passing through in life.
“I have strongly observed that some of them chose to sit down to read some COSTMETICS News especially the scandals associated with their careless conduct. Then I will be forced to start protecting their images at the detriment of my members well being and desires. I will like To Whom It May Concern to note that I am not a good liar and will not continue to scream that all is well even when it is very obvious that my people die frequently for lack of care and absolute neglect. If some of them cannot be truthful to this Government, then I assure them my absolute loyalty to my weak colleagues.
“I so much despise an EYE SERVICE because it is very sinful to God and man, This people should note that the media is a very important part of our sensitization program, therefore I cannot continue to disagree with them always neither will I continue to become and image cleaner or maker for any erring functionary with the Government, at the expense of my people survival. It seems I have exhausted all my strength showing some, respect, patients and understanding with those insensitive individuals”, Edward roared!
Speaking in separate interviews, two beneficiaries, Chidozie Nwankwo of SSS1, Community Secondary School, Ufuma; and Chika Nwafor, JSS1 student of Comprehensive Secondary School, Enugu-Nanka commended the association for settling their school fees, which they claimed had been a great burden to them, and vowed to compliment the effort by facing their study squarely.
However, in interview with News 48Hrs , another set of sicklers who spoke under the condition of anonymity regretted ever undergoing the skills acquisition programme in place of schooling.
The protesting students, who lamented that they chose to learning skills to be self-sufficiency and employer of labour, disclosed that since they passed out of the training, Governor Obiano’s wife and her CAFÉ is yet to empower them as they earlier promised.
Hear the promised and failed complaints: “They promised to empower us with take-off grants or resources for over two months we passed out of the training but this is to no avail. I regretted it. If I had known I would have chosen the Educational Packages and receive my school fees. I initially resisted it because government promised us money while APLSCD pledged to cater for our school fees. I thought that of our coordinator was unrealistic But to my shocking surprises, I am now seeing that government promises are not only unrealistic but deadlock to entrepreneurs”, one of them bemoaned in tears.
Meanwhile, the Association of People Living With Sickle Cell Disorder (APLSCD) had last Sunday went on thanksgiving service to Cathedral of St. Faith, Anglican Communion Awka as part of her efforts to thanking God for his mercy and loving kindness upon them.
APLSCD, who had earlier performed similar function at St. Patrick Catholic Cathedral, Awka equally used the opportunity to sensitise and enlightening the public on the danger of marrying-off couples whose genotypes are incompatible to each other.
“Sickle cell is not a disease but a deformity of the red blood cells when in pain crisis resulting from lack of oxygen and water in the hemoglobin. Parents and religious leaders should stand against the act of the proliferation of SS children in totality. You don’t wed couples in the name of blind love… Also, the public, especially the philanthropic individuals should shun fake NGOs parading themselves as our agents because they represent their persona pockets. Channel those of your help to us. We shall use them judiciously to address our various challenges. We have about 375 members whose tuition fees and bursary are yet to be paid, and those in need of first aid box to assist them on their leg Ulcerations” Aisha said at the Church thanksgiving service.
She therefore thanked Bishop Alexander Ibezim for always providing a shoulder for them each time they call on them, the Anglican communion for always looking out for their own even when it mattered most, and Venerable Silas Ike for the special time he gave them to speak to congregation, asking God to reward them and in furtherance touch the heart of their counterparts to emulate them.
Also speaking at the Church service, Revd Augustine Okoji, Senior Curia at St. Faith Cathedral, Anglican Communion appealed to parents to be at forefront of ending the scourge of sickle cell anaemia, while urging the sufferers to strive to success not minding whatever challenges befalling them in the society.
[By Okechukwu Onuegbu, Awka]