By PAUL EREWUBA
Judging by the process beneficiaries are nominated and assisted in episodes of Touching Lives CSR programme, Airtel has demonstrated genuine concern for needy Nigerians, so says viewers.
Viewers who watched the Season 2 of the programme have described the initiative as worthy of emulation by the government and corporate bodies.
For Toyin Taiwo, a businesswoman: “Most of the stories in Season 2 are inspiring. Any time I missed it I watched it on YouTube. I remember the story of a particular girl who had cerebral palsy. I understand what she went through before Airtel gave her the needed support. That singular support is very commendable. Our government and wealthy people should emulate the company.” Adijat Ogunbanke, a student at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), commenting said: “I remember watching the episode where some physically challenged students in a school in Abuja were assisted by the company. Airtel deserves commendations for donating items to the school. To an extent it is a big support to the parents of these kids. The Touching Lives programme is really meaningful.”
“I was particularly touched by the story of a man who’s hands were amputated during crisis in an African country,” says Olaide Idowu, who lives in Lagos. “He managed to carry on with life without his hands and encouraged other handicapped people by means of his foundation. Some people would otherwise have been discouraged about life but he showed that there is ability in disability. I give kudos to Airtel Nigeria for impacting lives through the programme.”
Samuel Chiji who works at a Nursing School had this to say: “I can only commend the company for its commitment to Nigerians. This is being done without thinking whether the beneficiaries are on the network or not. The company has impacted people. I remember a number of the stories but the one that touched me most was the episode about kids in an orphanage home.”
Airtel, in the 10th episode of Airtel Touching Lives Season 2, assisted the Ibikunle family, which were thrown into mourning after their youngest daughter, Sarah, was killed by stray bullet during a robbery at Lekki, Lagos, last year, while she was hawking fish to keep herself in school. The telecoms company supported Sarah’s mother by setting up a trade for her to earn a living.
That episode also narrated the plight of inhabitants of Mbashie, a community in Markurdi, which lacked clean and portable water for many years before Airtel Nigeria came to their aid.
In the 11th episode, Airtel assisted Benson Aguiyi, a man struggling to feed his family while battling diabetes and facing eviction from his house. Airtell came to his rescue by establishing a catering business for his wife.
“Airtel in the episode also assisted New Oko-Oba Nursery & Primary School, which has a unit established for children with physical and mental disabilities. The school lacked many amenities. The platform donated sewing machines, shoe-making machines, hearing aids, braille machines and other items to support the kids with special needs. This has helped the kids to develop high interest in education,” said James Obodo, an IT consultant in Lagos.
Airtel Touching Lives is a CSR initiative that seeks to offer succour and hope to to empower the underprivileged in the society. The Season 2 was launched in early January. The 13-episode programme aired on terrestrial and digital TV stations across Nigeria.