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Ability in Disability: Meet Mercy Innocent, a PWD who is living above the challenges of her predicament

Mercy Innocent, an original inhabitant of the FCT, lost her leg in a ghastly accident in 2009, where she was the only survivor amongst four other people: her child, brother-in-law, and niece all died in that accident. Her life has never been the same since then. This is the story of how Mercy became a PWD, as she had to walk with the aid of clutches for 13 years after surviving that accident. “For a long time, my experience after becoming a PWD since my accident in 2009 was bad. When I am in the midst of people, they despise me, and when I try to get closer to them, they run from me as if I was smelling foul. This lowered my self-esteem and made me stay indoors in shame not wanting to mingle with people”

“It was until I came into contact with and joined the “FCT original inhabitants with disabilities multipurpose cooperative society” that life started to take an upward turn. They encouraged me, gave me a sense of belonging, and taught me tailoring skills, which have economically empowered me and will allow me to contribute to the financial well-being of my family.

The forcible takeover of Abuja's original inhabitants' lands and the devastation of their means of subsistence in the name of relocating the Federal Capital from Lagos to Abuja, pursuant to Decree 6 of 1976, forced many OIPWDs into begging or plunged many into joblessness, especially as they often do not have the physical wherewithal to struggle for the few scarce resources available to original inhabitants. And even where they can, the system lacks structures that are PWD-inclusive.

But Mercy is not the only original inhabitant PWD who has benefited from CHRICED’s intervention. 160 (81 females and 79 males) other original inhabitants PWDs have been empowered with various skills, such as tailoring and shoe making, to make them economically empowered through a 2-year project funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation aimed at improving the livelihoods of the original inhabitants of the FCT.

To promote the rights of the FCT Original inhabitants' people with disability (PWD) CHRICED provided technical and financial support, strengthened their organizing capacity and raised awareness on their plight

Today, through CHRICED’s support, the “FCT Original Inhabitants with Disabilities Multipurpose Cooperative society” is building a 200-capacity auditorium to enable them train and provide support for more FCT original inhabitants with disabilities like Mercy. The facility, which is built to accommodate the peculiar needs of the FCT PWDs, will enable the cooperative to reach more PWDs and engender sustainability for the work they are doing.

“When I am done with my training in July, I hope to get a sewing machine and begin my own sewing business. This will help me generate income for my family, and I will no longer have to depend solely on other people for my wellbeing”. "I am excited by the support. CHRICED has given me the opportunity to live a better life. However, I know there are many other PWDs in dire need of support, and I hope that this same support eventually gets to them too." To donate to this cause and help us improve the living conditions of more FCT Original inhabitants living with disabilities, donate here.