Airtel has donated a fully stocked shop to the family of Oladimeji Adekunle, a former airline flight attendant who became paralysed from the waist down after a car accident in 2007.
In addition, the telecom giant has also promised to pay for a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test and three months of physiotherapy for the father of two.
In episode four, season three of Touching Lives which aired at the weekend, audiences across the African continent took a peek into the life of the family of four to see how the tragedy shattered all their plans.
Adekunle, who had recently been promoted at work, was forced to abandon his plans of becoming a pilot. The family’s small grocery business, their last source of income after the accident, became unsustainable when the hospital and domestic bills overtook the profits from the store.
Eventually, the business collapsed when the local government demolished Olaide’s shop to make way for a new commercial development in the area.
For the family to rent a stall in the alternative space provided by government, it would have had to pay more money. At the time, however, the Adekunles had exhausted all the cash in the bank.
“I have to go to friends and not everyone of them are really helping. Sometimes some people will really mock you. The business stopped,” Olaide said.
The couple also pulled out their children from school for two years. Now, Adekunle said, “My biggest concern now is my children’s education.”
Through the ordeal, nonetheless, he said he remained optimistic about the future. “I was always inspired by the story of [former President Olusegun] Obasanjo. He was in prison, waiting for death. But somehow, he became president again. His story has always taught me to never give up,” he said.
Now, with the new shop and medical treatment offered to the family, Adekunle said “Airtel has given me new hope.”
Also featured on the show was Remi Abere, founder of Climb with Remi. In Season two of Touching Lives, the charity, which was raising funds to support Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) by climbing of mount Kilimanjaro, received N10m from Airtel.
In the episode, Ms Abere confirmed that she and her group completed the climb in February 2016 and, with Airtel’s help, made more people aware of the desperate conditions in which the women and children in the IDP camps lived.
Hosted by Wana Udobang, Airtel Touching Lives will be back on television screens this weekend, the telecommunications services provider has said.