By Kasarachi Azuka, Asaba
To five sisters from Okolie family in Ibusa, Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State, this seems a moment of fulfillment in their lives, as they have now been elevated to the level of chief executive officers of their enterprises courtesy of the Job Creation of the incumbent administration led by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in the state.
Twenty nine years old Chiedu, her four other sisters namely Rita aged 27, Franca aged 25, Amanna aged 22 and Linda aged 20 are all persons with disabilities (PwDs) and had no viable means of livelihood even to take care of their kids.
Rita told BDSunday that they’ve been living with their disabilities which came as a result of polio meningitis that attacked them at their childhood ages. Only their brother who is aged 30 is not affected by the disease. The death of their father at their tender age, she said, made their matter worse as it led to their mother raising them single-handedly until she passed on at the age of 67 few years ago. She said their mother ensured they had education even to higher institution level.
The five of them, she said, are hair dressers but they seemed helpless and hopeless because there was no financial assistance to enable them establish a hair dressing salon.
Hope however smiled on them during Governor Okowa’s town-hall meeting at their local government headquarters, Akwukwu-Igbo, where he had a ‘heart-to-heart talk’ with the people of the area on issues of governance. Rita said the occasion offered them opportunity to make pathetic appeal to the governor over their plight as PwDs.
That appeal did not fall on deaf ear as the governor ensured their plight was looked into. The result was that they were among the 745 beneficiaries of the Skills Training Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP) and Youth Agricultural Entrepreneurs (YAGEP), of the state’s Job Creation, 3rd programme cycle 2017/2018. They fall under the Brown STEP category whereby the beneficiaries are given orientation course and one month refresher course, and then empowered with starter packs to establish and run their enterprises.
They now have viable means of livelihood as they have been retrained as hair-dressers and each empowered with starter packs comprising basic tools to start up and run their enterprises successfully and even train and employ others.