Disabled people, and especially disabled children and youths, have a very hard time in Nigeria. If you happen to be deaf, blind, physically disabled, slow learning or paraplegic in this West African country, it is almost impossible to find a good special school. This means you will have a very hard time to find a job and probably end up begging in the streets, under awful circumstances. In return, you'll get scorn and neglect from many of the people around you.

Luckily, around 80 disabled young people in Benin City have a place to go: Project Charilove. Every school day they can come to this rehabilitation centre to learn all kinds of practical skills: computers, music and drama, handicraft, tailoring, hair care, fine arts and shoe making. The deaf children go to their own school, where they learn sign language and other subjects. The products the kids make are sold from their own shop in the city centre.

This way, the children and youngsters can acquire skills and become productive members of society. Enough reason for abled Nigerians to treat them with appreciation and respect. The fact that most of the volunteering teachers are abled also stimulates valuable contacts between abled and disabled.

The Project Charilove approach has been a successful one, despite the modest means which were available. The ultimate challenge now is to make this aproach work on a larger scale, in the whole of Nigeria and beyond.