OPM Celebrates Children Born With Autism To Mark World Down Syndrome Day

The Omega Power Ministries (OPM) Worldwide, joined the rest of the world, on Monday to celebrate the World Down Syndrome Day to actually draw attention to children born with the condition, with a view to creating awareness on their plight, particularly in Rivers State.

As a way of truly marking the day and giving it meaning, the church organised and packaged a special programme at its Free Special School for Children Born with Autism and Down Syndrome in Umuakpu-Rukpokwu Community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the State, with the General Overseer of OPM, Apostle (Dr) Chibuzor Gift Chinyere; the state Commissioner for Education, Prof. Kaniye Ebeku; and other personalities in attendance.

In keeping with the theme of this year’s event, which is “Inclusion Means…”, Apostle Chinyere and Prof. Ebeku, stepped out in grand style and danced with the children, wriggling their bodies and waists in ecstasy to the admiration of those present. The special way the General Overseer in particular stooped and danced with the children drew thunderous applause from the audience, who were mostly parents of the victims, amid laughter and jocularity. The children and their teachers wore special T-Shirts designed specifically for the event.

The crowing moment, however, came when a handful of normal children, decked in their school uniforms, drawn from OPM Free School, presented the famous.

“We Are One” rendition to their physically challenged counterparts, assuring them that like the rest of humanity, they were not supposed to be treated less than other human beings by circumstances of their birth, and telling them in essence that they had indeed not been forgotten by the society, as epitomised by all that OPM is doing for them.

As captured by the presentation, the reality of this assurance is underscored by the sheer fact that OPM itself through the uncommon magnanimity of the General Overseer had deemed it necessary to establish on January 11, 2021 a special school for them where they are provided educational materials and among other items free of charge.

Another strong point about these special children is the fact that some of them, through the tutelage of their teachers, who the General Overseer described as core professionals and God-sent, are now able to do what they were not able to do before now.

Cakes, weavons, among other items made by them were actually displayed and exhibited at the event.

To crown it all, a special cake was also cut by the children alongside the General Overseer; Prof. Ebeku; among other dignitaries, to mark the day, while a popular radio presenter in Port Harcourt, Mr. Akas Baba anchored the proceedings.

In his remarks, Apostle Chinyere gave reasons for establishing the free special school in the first place, hinting that children of the wealthy, with similar conditions were privileged to be sponsored in special schools by their rich parents unlike the poor children who were more or less sent to public schools, where ordinarily they could not blend.

The General Overseer further noted that he decided to site the special school in the same environment with a regular school for the purpose of inclusion, a situation where, according to him, physically challenged children could conveniently blend and interact with normal children.

Chinyere stressed the need for the society not to discriminate against children born with autism and down syndrome because, according to him, they are created by God, adding that everything created by God is good and beautiful.

 He disclosed that within 90days, he was going to establish a department where persons with autism would be employed so that multinational companies would borrow a cue, to drive home the point that disability is not limitation.

Chinyere was full of praises for teachers in the special school whom he said were given adequate incentives to effectively do their work, contending that persons with disabilities actually needed to be accepted by the society instead of being seen as a curse.

On his part, the State Commissioner for Education, Prof. Kaniye Ebeku thanked Apostle Chinyere and the OPM Foundation for complementing the state government’s efforts in anchoring free schools and special schools in the State, describing the General Overseer as an icon of education. He said it was an act of great respect for the man of God that he personally decided to grace the occasion.

He said the state government is always happy with organisations that help to promote the process of governance, stressing that the government has spent a lot of money to revamp and reactivate special schools in the state.

“What Apostle Chibuzor is doing is to complement that effort. This is practical Christianity,” he said.

Ebeku also condemned in strong terms discrimination against persons with disabilities, which he said violates the Constitution of the country, and stressed the need for inclusion.

The Principal of the OPM Free Special School, Mr. Idoh Francis said the vision of the church is to alleviate the sufferings of parents and make the society a better place for all, and commended the General Overseer for the bold initiative of establishing the special school where both the regular pupils are playing together with the physically challenged ones.

In her welcome address, the OPM Director of Schools and Welfare, Dr (Mrs) Maureen Chukwu said the church is the only organisation running a free school for children born with autism and down syndrome, and commended the General Overseer for all that he is doing for mankind, describing him as the icon of quality free education.

She further hinted that the special school only recruited teachers with cognate experience in special children care, contending that the school believes in the synergy between teachings, extra-curricular activities and medical attention as well as prayers/spiritual impartations from the General Overseer in order to bring out the best from pupils.


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