Donors for Africa Foundation is a grant management nonprofit organization leading change, organized the first digital social innovators boot camp in Africa, targeted at equipping and building the capacity of nonprofit professionals, social enterprises and impact led businesses who are solving some of the world’s biggest challenges Africa. Following a rigorous selection process and months of thorough training, Aisha Dirisu, the founder, Peniel Foundation, emerges the winner.
Aisha Dirisu is the Executive Director of Peniel Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organization that inspires, empowers, and advocates for youths living with disabilities to attain their full potential. She is a trained Development Economist from the University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom, and a Monitoring & Evaluation consultant with a government parastatal in Nigeria. She has a certification in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from the prestigious Lagos Business School Nigeria, YALI alumni, and an African change-maker fellow who was invited in 2019 to participate in the World Youth Forum, which held at Sham el-sheik, Egypt.
Can you tell Us More About Your Work with Person’s living with Disabilities?
While pursuing a Master’s Degree at the University of East Anglia, UK, I volunteered to care for autistic children. It was the first time I would ever come directly in contact with anyone living with a physical or mental disability. While volunteering, I realized how skilled and talented each child was and had the potential to become under the right circumstances. Coming home to hear the horrid stories and witness the discrimination affecting persons living with disabilities, I decided to become a strong advocate for people in this demography.
Through Peniel Foundation, we inspire, empower, and advocate for people living with disabilities so they can actively contribute to nation-building. The foundation’s primary focus is to connect youths living with disabilities to job opportunities, equipping them with the tools required to succeed and become financially and economically independent while actively contributing to nation-building. Some of our impacts include;
- The recent launch of an E-mentorship program that connects youths with disabilities in Africa to successful Mentors around the world for their personal and professional development. Since we launched this platform, 3 of our mentees have gotten internship opportunities, and another is to be employed by a radio house. We also have over 50 mentees and about 55 mentors on our mentoring database.
- Increased advocacy response to the COVID -19 pandemic, through our Instagram Live Series, where youths living with disabilities engage with other successful persons with disabilities from around the globe to show what’s possible and share how they attained their success.
- Last year, to commemorate the International Women’s Day on March 18, 2019, we partnered with Include Me Africa and AIIVON to organize a stakeholders’ forum. At this meeting, we addressed the inclusion of women with disabilities as well as in entrepreneurship, employment, community development, and governance with solutions raised and submitted to stakeholders. Over 55 participants were present.
- We partnered with British High Commission & CBM to increase the representation of persons with disabilities as beneficiaries of the Chevening Scholarship. On July 20, 2020, an attendee living with disabilities received the Chevening Scholarship.
- We organized a free 2-day workshop & training tagged Peniel Empowers for youths living with disabilities where they received digital marketing and entrepreneurship skills training in 2018. A year later, one of the attendees got a grant to upscale her Disability Rights Advocacy Centre (DRAC).
Winning this pitch competition has been a life-changing and paradigm-shifting experience as I am now better equipped to achieve our vision for Peniel Foundation. We were challenged to scale up the impact of our work and received technical expertise and training from leading development experts across Africa.
My vision now is to ensure that we achieve more systemic change in the policies affecting a person’s living with disabilities. More private sector companies must consider hiring talented young people with disabilities in their workforce. COVID-19 has shown us they can work anywhere. We also hope to increase our advocacy calling on more construction companies, private and public sector firms, churches, Etc, to ensure their buildings are easily accessible by individuals living with any disability.
We must become more inclusive in our workforce, educational institutions, and government. Nigerians must become more aware of these issues and stop the discrimination.
I am genuinely grateful to Donors for Africa for this unique opportunity. Thank you so much.
About Donors For Africa
Donors for Africa connects funding and development agencies to competent indigenous organizations implementing change on the African continent. We have raised over $349,000, through grant writing and income-generating activities, provided technical support to over 50 women-led organizations, trained 500+ nonprofits and reached over 16 thousand people weekly via the organization’s learning platform. Through our MISSION, we are determined to build a better world by strengthening the capacity of mission-driven African Social Innovators to access funds, achieve groundbreaking results, and create sustainable organizations.
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