THE MTN Foundation Wednesday disclosed that it has so far invested the sum of $56 million in 341 project sites spread across the 36 states of the country and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT.)
Executive Secretary of the foundation, Nonny Ugboma who made the disclosure at the commemoration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in Abuja added that the foundation has extended its annual scholarships to 451 blind students in universities, polytechnics and colleges of education across the country.
This is even as she lamented that about 20 to 25 million people live with one form of physical disability or the other in the country.
She noted that the foundation, in 2009 and under its economic empowerment portfolio had launched the disability support project to empower people with physical disability by providing them with mobility aid and appliances to enhance their independence, improve accessibility and functionality and generally enable them to conduct their day-to-day activities with as little difficult as possible.
The executive secretary hinted that the foundation would continue to impact the lives of the people through its corporate social investment as long as it remains in business.
According to her, “Today, in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, we join the rest of the world to commemorate the international day of persons with disabilities
“In Nigeria, it is estimated that about 20 to 25 million people live with one form of physical disability or the other. While we may not have the exact figure, we cannot contest the fact that an overwhelming majority of them do not have access to facilities that will enable them conduct their day-to-day activities without significant difficulty
“Even worse, many are cut off from meaningful activity which can make a difference in their lives. For instance, the literacy rate among persons with disabilities is significantly lower than those without any form of disability
“Without mobility aids, many are unable to attend school like their peers. Should they also decide to pursue the acquisition of technical skills, it is even more difficult because there are limited skills acquisition centres targeted at the needs of the disabled in our society”.
Continuing, the Foundation boss said, “To support the education of blind students, the MTN Foundation has enhanced its universities connect project by installing special software packages in all the computers in its digital libraries”.
This software according to her will enable blind students to gain access to books, research materials and other data.