By Paul Efiong
A nongovernmental organization, Step to the Top Leadership Center (STLC) has empowered seventy women with disabilities in Abuja.
The Executive Director of STLC, Teresa Nwachukwu who made this known at the closing ceremony of the Project Thinkable organized by the group and funded by VOICE Netherlands, said the beneficiaries now have a renewed mindset about life and living.
She said the project, which lasted for a period of one year and had over 70 mentors and mentees, was designed to shift the mindset of physically women in Abuja to thinking towards their abilities, confidence and service and not begging to be pitied by the community.
“Our methods are simple, one on one engagement, experimental activities, inclusion. In this way, we have been able to positively influence several thousands of youth, women and vulnerable populations,” she said.
She said the country needs leaders who understand what leadership means, ability to understand self and others and ability to lead self and others.
“Project thinkable was our contribution towards helping women with disabilities understand themselves by learning about social identities and mental models, understand others by learning about the various personalities and communication,” she said adding that the project had three thematic areas including leadership development, mentorship and community service.
On the plans of the centre, she said, “We will keep engaging with the mentors. What we do is leadership development and we are always mentoring and we have plan for other projects.”
She urged the beneficiaries to see service as a lifetime, “We want them to know that service is a lifetime, what I am doing now is what anybody could and should do, they should go in there and step down on what we have taught them.”
One of the guest speakers, Mrs Sonye Allanah urged the beneficiaries to see mentoring as a lifestyle. She descried the relationship between a mentor and a mentee as one between the child and his mother.
“You help someone to get up and grow. The mentorship process may end but the friendship is for a lifetime,” she said adding that there should be a synergy between the mentor and the mentee.
One of the beneficiaries, Jane Akpaeva whom with the assistance of her mentor was able to carry out three community service project visited the school of blind in Jabi where she facilitated a session on mental models and attitude towards people with disabilities.
“The aim was to give them a positive mindset towards disability, especially as they graduate from secondary to tertiary institutions of learning,” she said in a project thinkable handbook also launched at the closing out ceremony.