It was especially pleasant to see that following the emotional and thought-provoking premier episode of CSR-focused television series, Airtel Touching Lives, the tempo and delivery on promise has not dropped. The dynamics, emotion canduor of the beneficiaries, creativity and settings used as the backdrop of the first episode remain as a recurring decimal in episode 2. In fact, all the elements put together form a harmonious blend in the delivery of a truly captivating show that leaves one yearning for the repeat episode and the next episode – showing on Sundays on AfricaMagic channel 154 at 8pm.
The second episode’s opening story was a breath of fresh air, a wonderful reminder of how powerful and real the stories of the beneficiaries are and how this could be the lot of the viewer. Blessing Danladi, a young poet living with her widowed mother Rhoda, shows us with her simple, unassuming demeanor that dreams can be dreamt and can also be made to come alive. She has turned her love of spoken word into a skill, amazingly beyond her years and circumstance. Her delivery of a poem she wrote rivals that of many a spoken word artists and gives hope that this blooming art-form has a body of upcoming practitioners.
Her dream to be a doctor in her words “to take care of people so they feel better” is reminiscent of many of our childhood dreams. However, I make bold to say we may have a Nigerian Maya Angelou on our hands. Her nominator, Joseph Yaba, proved that there is a river of human kindness still flowing in the hearts of Nigerians. Hearing him speak of his belief in the empowerment of the girl child and seeing what he has been doing selflessly calls in a call to action to all of us to join in his cause and do our own bit - one girl at a time. And thanks to Airtel for offering Blessing’s mum a means of livelihood so that she can train her daughter and help her realize her dreams.
And the second story in the second episode? We all have at one time or the other taken part in the adventure that is known as ‘okada riding’, many of us still do; however, Foluso Pamilerin’s foray into this adventure that was a daily routine in her life has left her paralyzed from waist down for the past 12 years – long years of staying indoors and being unable to care for herself independently. This could be anyone of us. As though that was not enough, her lover duped her and left her with a young child who she has singlehandedly raised for the past five years.
Hearing her speak of the depression she fell into and the strong pull for her to end it all reminds us that many have fallen into this pit of darkness and shines a light on the fact that Foluso’ s being here today is evidence of the strength of her character in the face of the daunting odds against her. Her immobility due to a lack of a wheelchair further highlights the odds faced by people living with disabilities and the incompatibility of many of our living conditions to fit in with their situations. Foluso, a natural born survivor, has turned her immobility into a small business beading herself a new life and providing training to others, she in her own zeal to survive is empowering others to survive their own situations to become entrepreneurs.
Blessing and Foluso are a microcosm of the stark realities of our lives and deliver on the promise that with a little hope, much can be achieved. For now, it's time to celebrate these lives that have been touched by Airtel. Of course, this is just episode two, but it truly felt like a statement effort – an effort to continue to awaken a cycle of giving among Nigerians. With the trend of the past two episodes, there is a strong chance that the coming weeks can follow through on this promise.
Airtel Touching Lives is aired every Sunday, 8pm, on Africa Magic Channel 154 and a repeat on Thursday the same channel and same time and on Saturday on NTA at 8.05pm.