By Emma Okereh
One of the best ways to start a new month, the saying goes, is by supporting the needy, the less privileged; by putting smiles on their faces and giving them hope for the future.
Monday, the 3rd day of April will remain evergreen in the life of Mr. Joshua Omale, a cripple, whose normal abode is the Federal Secretariat, Abuja where he combines begging with any menial job he can lay his hand on.
That day was a turning point in his life when the United Towns Agency (UTA), Nigeria Chapter, team led by their Country-President, Princess Abigail Amalaha visited him.
The UTA, a United Nations accredited Non-Governmental Organisation, were on hand to put smiles on the face of Mr. Omale by having lunch with him and then presenting him with a brand new wheelchair to ease his movement.
According to Princess Amalaha, the essence of the UTA team having lunch with him is to make him realize that, though he is crippled and physically challenged, he is still part of the society and that there are people who still love him. After the lunch session, to the surprise of the Kogi state born, 46-year-old Joshua, who is married with four children, he was presented with a quality brand new wheelchair and cash gift to support him in any little business he might want to engage on.
The UTA Country-President explained that Mr. Omale caught her attention on one of the occasion she saw him at Federal Secretariat parking arena struggling with his worn out wheelchair. On closer interaction with him, she was amazed with his impeccable and good command of English which made her start thinking of how he could be assisted.
Narrating his plight, Joshua explained that he was not born crippled, but became crippled as a result of a fatal accident he had on the 17th of December 2003 which led to his current state.
According to him, when he lost the ability to use his legs properly due to the accident, he couldn’t afford a wheelchair at the time, but God used a generous man to get him one which he had been using since 2003 till date. Although the wheelchair was now old and very uncomfortable, he still managed it because of his inability to get a new one. He also added that life had been so difficult for him and his family since he became crippled.
He narrated that getting a job was tough because of his condition, but in other to meet his family needs, he would rather go to the Federal Secretariat every day to beg for money and do any little work he could find to fetch him some money than sit all day doing nothing.
Reacting to the unexpected surprises from the UTA team, Joshua prayed for the UTA Country-President and her members with tears in his eyes and also appreciated the organisation for coming to his rescue and giving him a reason to smile again. He also added that he has long prayed to God for a change of his wheelchair and God used the UTA to answer his prayer.
Princess Amalaha explained that her joy knows no bound on seeing the joy and happiness in the face of Mr. Joshua with this little token from UTA. She urged the government at all levels, organisations and well-endowed individuals to be “our brother’s keeper” and support the less privileged in any way they can, realizing that most of them found themselves in the present situation they are, not of their own making.
“There are so many Joshua within our neighbourhood,” a little support can change their life, she stated.