A former flight attendant and father of two will be the next beneficiary of Touching Lives, the philanthropic programme sponsored by Airtel.
The fourth episode of season 3 will air this Saturday and Sunday on terrestrial and satellite television networks across Africa, the telecommunications services provider has said.
A statement by Airtel revealed that the company would be offering relief to Oladimeji Adekunle, who lost the use of both legs in a car accident 10 years ago. Adekule said his life was “extremely perfect” before the accident. “My life was extremely perfect. My aim was to become a pilot and I had just been promoted to senior cabin crew member,” he said.
Since the mishap, however, he has been confined to his home, with his wife, a small business owner, left to shoulder the cost of raising their two boys and running the household. For more than two years, the children were out of school because the parents could not pay the school bills. “It’s been terribly rough,” Adekunle said.
His wife, Olaide Adekunle, added that help was sometimes difficult to come by. “I have to go to friends and not everyone of them are really helping. Sometimes some people will really mock you. The business stopped and I tried to put something together,” she said.
In the middle of the couple’s struggle, the city demolished Olaide’s shop to make way for a new development. Although she, along with other traders in the market, was offered an alternative space, the cost of the facility was higher and out of the family’s reach.
The Adekunles’ plummeting financial position also reduced the number of days the children could spend in school. On many occasions, teachers shut the boys out of classrooms for unpaid school fees.
Adekunle has remained optimistic in spite of his difficulties. Apart from his wife’s constant support, there had been a few other people chipping in from time to time. But more help was still needed, especially to keep the kids in school. Although he can no longer play football with the boys, “My biggest concern now is my children’s education,” Adekunle said.
According to Airtel, after the coming episode, Adekunle and his family will have a reason to smile again. Hosted by Wana Udobang, Airtel Touching Lives returns this weekend to its usual slots on local and international television, according to the timetable released by the telecom giant.