Our organisation through counselling of mothers who have children living with disabilities have realised that a lot of these women are unable to work because of their children’s disabilities. Therefore, they are unable to meet their basic needs. It was therefore necessary for us to put together a training program to help them discover their talents and harness it to provide an income to meet their needs.
On the 21st of May, 2019, fifteen mums with special needs kids were selected for a Mentorship and Skills Acquisition program which held in Lagos.
The mothers came for the program expecting to start learning some skills immediately but our organisation (Diary of A Special Needs Mum Initiative/P4:13 Foundation) knew that it was necessary for them to have a re-orientation about succeeding in life in spite of life’s challenges. Having the right mind set is key to achieving success in any chosen field.
The program started with Ms Temitope Osoba, a behavioural therapist and SEN teacher who spoke about behavioural disorder in children and how it can be managed. She explained the importance of parents working together with therapists to achieve success with their wards.
Mr Korede Oladejo, a physiotherapist spoke to the mums about the essence of physical therapy for children with mobility disorder. He also admonished mothers to maintain the right posture when handling their children in other to prevent back injuries.
After this session, the therapists attended to the children with disabilities that came along with their mums. The mums had opportunities to ask questions relating to therapy and disability.
While the therapists were attending to the children and their mums, the remaining mums in the training room were encouraged to share their experiences about having special needs children. It has been said, and rightly so, that talking about one’s painful experience is also a form of therapy. They heard from other mums who have children living with special needs and we believe this helped the mothers to know that they are not alone.
The next session began with Mrs Sola Adesakin, CEO Smart Stewards who took the class on financial independence. It was an eye-opening session as she told the class how to develop multiply streams of income, how to save and invest.
The next session was a panel of speakers which included Miss Damilola Olokesusi, CEO Shuttlers (a tech and transportation startup), Miss Nneamaka Nwafo, CEO Makay Embellishments, Mrs Toyin Feibo, CEO, Sizzling Foodstop and Mrs Sola Adesakin, CEO, Smart Stewards.
It was an amazing session. Our panelists were open about their entrepreneurial journey. They all spoke about where they started from and how they fought against life’s challenges to make a success out of their businesses. Each one of them brought a different angle to the table for discussion. This really challenged the mums as they were inspired to fight for their lives and make the best out it.
Bukola Ayinde, the convener of the programme, spoke with the mothers and she challenged them to rise above their circumstances and reach for their dreams.
The mothers were also engaged in inspiring activities. They were told to write down the kind of profession they had always dreamt of studying. A good number of our mums wanted to become nurses. Bukola Ayinde told them to take another piece of paper and write the business they would start if they had a million naira. After the exercise, the mothers were told that it was never late to fulfil their dreams.
The mothers were also asked to pick a skill that they wanted to learn after the program. This they all did.
After a whole day of piling off layers of self-doubt and the numerous excuses for not succeeding as a special needs mum in Nigeria, the mums left for their homes with renewed zeal to fight for their lives and pursue financial freedom while caring for their families.
After the program there were series of individual mentoring sessions with each participant. The report of the mentoring program is stated below.