LESSONS FROM AIRTEL’S TOUCHING LIVES – BY ABUBAKAR IBRAHIM

It is often said when all life throws at you are lemons, you use them to make lemonades. I have become an ardent viewer of Touching Lives since the first season was aired a few years ago. I find it motivating and I must say it comes across to me as an initiative worth emulating by corporate Ghana especially in the light of erroneous widespread beliefs that corporate Ghana takes so much away and gives very little in return to the communities in which they operate.

This week on Airtel Touching Lives, the producers brought me closer to the support given to  eight cobblers living in Bolgatanga and  to a very old village in the Upper West Region called Zimuopare whose water dam has been in a dilapidating condition for years.

The 8 Cobblers of Bolgatanga with their seamstress colleagues

The story of the eight cobblers is inspiring, for not only are they all physically disabled, but they have not allowed their disability to impede their ability to earn a living by repairing and making shoes, dresses and bags. Therefore, when Stephanon Nsoh Adukoh, the man who recommended this group of artisans to Airtel Ghana as deserving support, needed his shoes fixed, he knew exactly where to go: the Rehabilitation Centre located on the edge of the market square downtown Bolgatanga where the Cobblers are operating from.  Indeed, these artisans are not only providing a service to their community, they are also creating jobs as the apprentices currently under their tutelage will also go out and provide similar services to the communities.

Again, watching the precarious nature of the water dam for the people of Zimuopare, I was relieved to learn among other things that the people of this village had in the past not just folded their arms and did nothing about  their situation, but on two occasions attempted to  build a dam.

In the 1950’s the community was mobilized to build a dam. The men dug with pick axes and hoes while the women molded the clay and sand to construct the walls. As they had no real knowledge of dam construction, the project failed. They again attempted in year 2000, with similar results.

What is left of the current dam for the people of Zimuopare

Airtel is touching the lives of the villagers in Zimuopare with the logistics and technical know-how, which has eluded them all these years. Lessons are still being learnt by viewers across the length and breadth of Ghana of selflessness, determination, sense of community and having the human feeling to touch lives.  Airtel’s sense of community, giving back to society, building dreams, giving hope and social responsibility needs lauding and is worth emulating.

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