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Friends of the disabled is a registered NGO, conceived in 1992 as a result of related activities in Imo State, Eastern Nigeria. It has since matured into primary service provider for homeless disabled people in Lagos State. For the first five years of operations, the Organisation's project provided basic education (mass literacy) and counseling to homeless disabled people living in a car park in Lagos Island. Starting with rudimentray equipment (black board pencils chalk and exercise books) potential students were offered the chance to join classes four evenings per week to improve their written and spoken English as well as computation of numbers. Recognising that such limited resources could not alone liberate these individuals from their lives on the streets, Friends of the Disabled began to campaign for bigger place in which to house and develop its activities. In 1997 Lagos State Government in conjunction with Lagos Island Local Government donated a defunct political party building to Friends of the Disabled. The building, although ideal in size, and location for our activities, was in a serious State of disrepair. All roofs, windows, doors had to be replaced. There was no mains water or sanitation facilities and the site had been taken over by local 'area boys' (Young gangs) involved in drugs and petty crime. Over the last eighteen months the Centre was renovated with assistance of may Embassies including the British High Commission, Canadian High Commission, Irish Embassy, German Embassy, International Aids Organisation as well as Corporate and individual donors. In 1998 Friends of the disabled was linked with German Technical Co-operation (GTZ) soon after that the workshops were renovated and equipped to provide vocational training in Metal work and Fabrication, Tailoring and Fashion Design, Leather work and Shoe making. Poultry and Animal husbandry, Aso-Oke weaving and Computer literacy. Most of the students we train in vocational skill are illiterates and without education, mass literacy becomes compulsory to enable them learn basic calculation of figures, basic book-keeping signing signatures in receipts and invoices interacting with people in English language etc. On our roll, we have 10 disabled girls and 25 disabled boys. This number is bound to increase as more students enroll and other graduate out. Over the last two years ten students have graduated from various skills and they were all given equipment and tools to start their own business. Some of the students who graduated have been employed to train other students. In mass literacy we employ 3 part-time teachers for 8 hours per week each.
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