The faith based organization, Omega Power Ministry (OPM), has commenced a free school for children suffering from Autism and Down syndrome, the school was designed basically for pupils from poor backgrounds that cannot afford the high cost of specialized schools. The general overseer of the ministry, Apostle Chibuzor Gift Chinyere who announced the commencement of the school in a statement issued on the official handle of the Rivers State based outfit, said the school is an addition to the already 15 schools being run free of charge from the stable of the Omega Power Education Foundation. The clergy explained that they intend to handle them in both spiritual prayers and physical teaching adding that “we believe there is no illness that Jesus cannot heal and make them useful to the society. The school is absolutely free”.
“Children with Autism and Down syndrome have to attend a special school. They learn at their own pace, which is usually slower than regular kids. There are designated schools around the country that they can attend. Unfortunately, those schools are expensive. This is because while you have one teacher in a regular school, the special school requires about three to four teachers in a class”.
“I noticed only the rich parents of these special kids could afford to send their wards to school, hence we came up with a plan to establish a free school purposely for the less privileged that have children suffering from these ailments. Uzoamaka Ngbekwe, an expert in handling autistic children that was hired by the ministry said the school has started operation by admitting two set of children which are the younger ones and the slightly older ones with sole aim to reintegrate them back into the society by making them useful to themselves, family and the society.
“We started with self help skills for them so that they can be able to do basic things for themselves which will enable them function well in their academics, and after giving them self-help, they start their academics fully and for those that are not doing well in academics; we encourage them to learn vocations of their choice. She expressed high optimism that the school will succeed in the mission to turn the special pupils to great people because they’ve been given the right opportunity, right environment and the right support.
“It’s a collective thing, so we will appreciate it if the society can also help by encouraging them anywhere they see them, and not look down on them knowing that they have their inner strength which is what the school is developing. “They’re God’s artwork waiting to be showcased and I know that with prayers and physical work, it will come to pass, we also want to tell the society to be supportive to their parents and the children.
“Children with autism and Down syndrome are not cursed, it’s not because their parents had done one ill or the other, it’s just happened, we need to know that they’re not useless they have their own area of specialty, it just for us to help them find it and develop it and they will actually going to do well in the right environment. “It will be nice if the society is beginning to accept them. They strive in love, in any place where they feel loved, supported, they do very well, and in developed countries, we have good numbers of people with this case that are working and contributing their quota to the society.
“They get married and have good skills they use to earn money, these can be done here with the right support, so the society needs to be better aware about these children and not look down on them or cast them out and not be nasty to their parents, the children are not possessed, they’re not demons is not as a result of a curse”, Ngbekwe who has masters degree in special education with expertise in handling autistic children noted. She however charged their parents that they need to count themselves blessed, saying it is a privileged to have a child in this form,
“I say it’s a privilege because you’re partnering with God to showcase God’s miracle and for a parent in such situation, you’re special and blessed and should not let God down but doing all you can to make that miracle show forth”. The principal of the School, Mr. Ido Francis, who had worked with government schools in Rivers State for many years before joining OPM Foundation also expressed optimism that the school will roll out good products because it has good specialists in that area.
Francis who also holds a master’s degree in special education, specializing in handling Down syndrome and autistic children prayed for the initiator of the school saying there is no one in Africa who is doing what the man of God is doing, stressing that operating a school for special pupils free of charge is a commendable gesture. He however pledged to do his best to support and encourage the financier. The welfare director of Omega Power World wide, Dr. Mrs. Maureen Chukwu who is also one of the personnel managing the school said the man of God have invested much in recruiting best hands to handle the children in the way he likes, as she thank God that Apostle Chinyere accepted the call and pray God to keep upholding him.
Dr. Mrs. Maureen Chukwu, Uzoamaka Ngbekwe and The principal of the School, Mr. Ido Francis