By Nna Anulumadu
Feelings of joy and fulfilment pervaded the atmosphere last Saturday, May 6, 2023, as students of Regina Pacis International Secondary School, Onitsha, donated mobility canes produced by students of the school to 20 visually impaired people drawn from across the South-East.
Mobility canes enable blind or visually impaired people to go about their daily businesses wherever they find themselves.
The students also produced and showcased gas leakage detectors to forewarn people of gas leaks in their residencies in order to avoid fire outbreaks.
The display of the new inventions was made during the pastoral visit of the Archbishop of Onitsha, the Most Rev. Valerian Okeke, who is also the proprietor of the school.
Speaking shortly before the distribution of the visual aid materials to the blind, the school director, Rev. Fr Jerome Obiekezie, praised Archbishop Okeke for his unflinching support for mission schools, including Regina Pacis Secondary School, testifying that the giant strides which the students have made academically and otherwise are to be reckoned with locally and internationally due to the personal support and attention of the archbishop and his quest for excellence.
The archbishop, who was amazed at the new inventions, commended Father Obiekezie, the management and the students for their untiring efforts to produce things that will better lives, and emphasised that with the mobility canes, the blind have been given sight. He urged the school not to relent in giving the best to their students, encouraging them to always hold tenaciously to the culture of excellence.
The obi of Onitsha, His Royal Majesty Igwe
Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, who graced the occasion, in his remarks praised Archbishop Okeke for being instrumental to the uncommon feat the students are achieving, stating that the archbishop has really transformed the education sector in the Onitsha Archdiocese and beyond. He extolled the students of Regina Pacis for the innovations, declaring that they are one of the best in the country.
Also, Prof K. K. Nwozor, of the physical sciences faculty of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, commended the college for its academic prowess, disclosing that his faculty is already partnering with the Regina Pacis students since the school is currently presenting a model in science and technology.
According to him, some students of the college who participated in the recent international science and technological exhibitions conducted at the university, excelled, a development that indicated that there would be a harvest of talents in the prestigious college every year.
Some students who spoke at the event said they were touched by the kind of challenges blind people in society are passing through because of their visual impairment and as such they were motivated to go into the invention of the canes to help the blind in moving from one location to the other without being assisted by anyone.
The students also said that in order to prevent fire outbreaks in various homes, they embarked on a study and successfully produced a device that can detect gas leakage and at the same time generate a call to the mobile phone of the house owner and inform the person of the imminent danger. They added that with the latest innovation, fire outbreaks resulting from gas leakage will be a thing of the past.
The South-East youth coordinator of the Nigerian Association of the Blind, Chude Emmanuel Chukwuemeka, who spoke to Trinitas, said they were elated to receive the digital mobility canes from Regina Pacis, and that by this singular act, they have given sight to the blind. He called on the government and kind-hearted individuals to support the school with funds so that they can produce more digital walking sticks for blind people numbering above 700 in the South-East.
Earlier in the holy Mass that kickstarted the event, Archbishop Okeke charged the students to always have a dream and set a plan. “Then project the plan and practise it. You can break it into achievable steps, persevere in practising it and back it up with prayers,” he said, assuring that following these steps, students can make 9 As in their external examinations.
He further commended the school for grooming the students in Chinese, Spanish and other languages, charging them to remain committed to excellence. Regina Pacis, he said, is already known for excellence worldwide especially in robotics and coding.
The high points of the occasion include the official launching of the Regina Pacis school choir and the presentation of the digital walking sticks to the visually impaired.