Photo Documentary: Special Children by Adefolake Ogunbajo
Princewill Sotanmi is 18years of age, 3rd male born of a family of 4, living in a district of Agege in Lagos Nigeria but intellectually disabled. He is one of the few disabled children to be selected in a year-round sports national training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type Sports for Children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The affiliation with Special Olympics Nigeria has provided him with continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate abilities skills and friendships with his community and other special Olympic athletes. Princewill Sotanmi competed in the 5-day sporting event of the 50th Anniversary of the Special Olympic games to represent Nigeria in the 2019 Special Olympic World Games in Abu Dhabi.
These opportunities will never have been possible if his mother, Mrs. Charity Sotanmi with courage, had not brought him out to encourage her son irrespective of his disability (Down syndrome) to participate. According to National Down syndrome society, Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21 with few of the common physical traits such as low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm – although each person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees, or not at all.
We chose to document the lives of this courageous family to share their daily life struggles from the mother perspective of caring for a child with such disability which requires the utmost love, care and patience to living within a community that sees such a disability as a curse and stigma to the society. The voiceless faces even the elite in Nigeria seem to conceal and hide from their friends and community…right in the chambers of their homes.