The Irede Foundation, an Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), on Friday unveiled a comic book that promotes the idea of inclusion among children.
Speaking at the official unveiling of the book titled “Iredians”, Crystal Chigbu, Executive Director, Irede Foundation, said that the unveiling of the Iredians was a dream come true.
“Today is a dream come true; we are one step closer to building a more inclusive society,” Chigbu said.
She noted that books, music and arts are important tools that help children and people make sense of the world around them, she added that books, music and arts help to shape children’s worldviews and provide a lens through which they see the world.
“Therefore, it is important that children learn early the idea of inclusion. This is something that has been missing from the childhood of many children. Children grow up reading books, watching shows that do not take into consideration children living with disabilities; when these children grow and meet other children living with disabilities in real life, they often do not know what to do”
“This knowledge gap can lead to lack of respect for other people who are different, bullying and lack of understanding of the needs and rights of other people,. Chigbu said.
She said that in creating the Iredians, the foundation wanted to change the narrative.
“We wanted to include children with disabilities in books starting with this comic so that other children can see, hear, and learn from them,” Chigbu said.
She said that the Iredian Comic is part of the foundation’s efforts to build a society with mutual respect no matter differences, a society where all voices were heard, and people rightly represented.
“We want children to understand how to act when they see other children with disabilities, to accord them equal respect given to any other person and extending a hand of empathy. This world we believe is possible but it starts with efforts like the Iredians, as we share, read to children and get this comic into hands of children, we would be changing the world”
“Our legends of hope, Irede, Ihunanya, Alheri, Ireti, and Bege are a representation of all us but not just our weakness but our ability to rise above all that life has thrown at us to become our own heroes, living limitlessly in every area of our lives,” Chigbu said.
She expressed gratitude to members of her team for putting so much hard work to the production of the book.
” I want to specially appreciate our donors (Nivea, apertrus) for believing in this project. Your commitment has started a landmark change in Nigeria and Africa. Our hope is to make animations, films, music, etc. where children with disabilities are represented but first we want to get this comic to the hands of 10,000 children before the end of December 2021”
” For every copy of the Iredians in the hand of a child is tool that can truly change his life and the lives of others,” she said.
Similarly, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Lagos State on Disability Affairs, Adenike Lawal, thanked the foundation for what she described as a landmark achievement. Lawal said that adults lacked words to explain disability to children.
“This is where the comic will fill the missing link,” Lawal said.
Mr Godwin Harison, Managing Director, Beiersdorf Nivea, said that Irede Foundation had a track record of impacting on children with disabilities. Harison said that disability was being differently able, and thanked the foundation for the great work they were doing.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that goodwill messages were sent by the Ministry of Education, Lagos State Office for Disability (LASODA) and the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board.
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