A non-governmental and non-profit making organisation, Rebuilding Hope on Wheels Initiative (RHOWI), founded by Hajia Amina Audu to improve the lives of people with disabilities, particularly those with Spinal Cord Injuries and Dysfunction (SCI/D), has started visiting hospitals in the South East to encourage people with spinal cord injuries.
The group that visited Orthopedic Hospital Enugu on Wednesday, August 16th with a lot of gift items for people with spinal cord injuries in the hospital ward said that their message was “having spinal cord injuries does not mean the end of such person’s life.”
Speaking to journalists after visiting spinal cord injury patients in their ward at HRH Eze Godwin Ahanonu Spinal Injury Care Complex in Orthopedic Hospital Enugu, the South East coordinator of RHOWI, Ejikeme Fineglo said the organisation was promoting social inclusion and removing barriers for people in wheelchair to participate in social and occupational activities like any other citizen
“RHOWI has engaged relevant stakeholders since its inception to change the directional way of treating people with spinal cord injuries and Dysfunction to specific rehabilitation that teaches people with the injury on how to live life after spinal cord injuries,” Ejike said.
According to him, “We want to give hope and prepare the survivors and their families for the not-too-pleasant journey of spinal cord injury which most of our peer supporters have lived through and forged ahead with their lives despite the trauma posed by the injury.”
He said that coming to the hospital was among other programmes to give those with spinal cord injuries some orientation.
“Our primary aim is to make them understand that they are some people who have been in the stage they are now and today living their life. We want to assure them that they can still be useful to themselves and the society at large. You don’t need to kill yourself or take your life,” he said.
Narrating what happened to him, he said he was assaulted by a group of people when he was living in the north for a little misunderstanding which turned into a fight; unfortunately, they hid his head on the ground and that compressed his spine from the back, affecting his grip and since then he continues to manage life like that since 2006.
He told the people that spinal cord injury treatment is a continuous thing because the nerves are always hot once it is injured.
He advised spinal cord injury patients to belong to a group that would be reminding them of what to do at a particular point in time, like physiotherapy, “so the treatment continues.”
“Earning a living is what we are saying that one should not kill oneself. This other friend of mine is a music producer and I do some businesses online.
Our women are traders of various goods; our aim is to give hope to spinal cord injury persons. We are not totally invalid; we do a lot of things to support ourselves.”