Sightsavers Reports

Sani Muhammad's story

A clinic in Sokoto state, Nigeria.

Alhaji Sani Muhammad Dan’lya is the acting chairman of Sokoto State’s chapter of the Joint Association of Persons with Disabilities. He helps to highlight the importance of disability inclusion within the Ascend West and Central Africa programme.

Sani Muhammad was born and raised in the Minnanata community, Sokoto State, Nigeria. Not long after turning 15 years old he started to go blind.

“I woke up one morning and couldn’t see anything. My family tried hard to get me help to regain my sight. I was not from a wealthy family but they did everything they could. Unfortunately, no one could give us answers [to why I was going blind]. I have been blind for over 36 years now,” he explains.

“I don’t want to dwell on the past because it has made me a better person.”

A man stands for a portrait.

Sani is a leader and strong advocate for people with disabilities in Sokoto State. He is also the chair for the state’s Association of the Blind.

As a leader for people with disabilities, and a person with a visual impairment himself, Sani Muhammad strongly supports an inclusive approach in neglected tropical disease (NTD) programmes.

Following Sani’s attendance at a Sightsavers-supported session on leaving no one behind and disability inclusion, he became enthusiastic about lending his expertise to projects, such as the Ascend West and Central Africa programme.

The programme is committed to working with disabled people’s organisations, like the Joint Association of Persons with Disabilities, so that people with disabilities are included in the design, delivery and evaluation of the programme, boosting the impact and overall inclusiveness.

“We are willing to do our best to ensure that people with disabilities are involved as decision makers in Sokoto state.”

The Joint Association of Persons with Disabilities also advocates for the inclusion of marginalised groups during programme activities, including mass treatment campaigns and NTD case finding.

“We really appreciate the effort of Sightsavers and partners in involving us during implementation of their activities as they see us as key stakeholders and decision makers for all their activities,” Sani says.

The Joint Association of Persons with Disabilities also works to change perceptions in communities to show that people with disabilities are productive members of society, to help people with disabilities set up their own businesses and to ensure that children with disabilities receive the support and education they deserve.

Sani Muhammad explains that there is still work to be done, as the government does not yet fully involve people with disabilities when implementing activities. However, as the chairman of the association, he will continue to advocate for disability rights and to raise awareness to the government.

“We are glad to support Sightsavers and partners activities and are willing to do our best to ensure that people with disabilities are involved as decision makers in Sokoto state,” he adds.

A man distributes treatment to a smiling student.

Ascend: fighting disease in West and Central Africa

The Ascend West and Central Africa programme aims to protect millions of people in 13 countries from neglected tropical diseases.

About the programme

Find out more about NTDs

Sightsavers and fighting disease

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