The following article was published in the Guardian Nigeria on 25th December
Amputees in Nigeria will have reasons to walk again as Rotary club of Lagos Island in partnership with Rotary club of Singapore and the Ishk Limb Center an initiative of Tolaram foundation is distributing 2500 free artificial limbs and arms to restore mobility.
The free artificial limb project, according to the President, Rotary Club of Lagos Island, District 9110, Mr. Sanjeev Tandon, is a global grant funded project by the groups to assist underprivileged amputees in Nigeria regain mobility to function actively in the society, as statistics revealed that there are over 25 million Nigerians who suffer from one physical deformity or amputation yearly due to car or motorcycle accident and diabetes, with over 3.5million of them having challenges of moving around.
The Club also donated 61 pints of blood in collaboration with Kewalram group during its blood donation camp that saw 78 people donate their blood.Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the first mega global grant project, Tandon said the projects are part of the club’s commitment to serve humanity, especially the underprivileged in the society who have no means of supporting themselves.
He said amputation is a serious issue that have stolen the joy and livelihood of amputees, as most of them have lost their jobs, while some their family, adding that the free artificial limbs and arms distributed will help them regain mobility and function in the society.
Speaking on the criteria for benefiting from the free artificial arms and limbs, Tandon said: “There are no criteria. Anyone in need of either an artificial leg or hand should just walk into our centre at 38, Eric Moore Street, Surulere Lagos, where they are manufactured according to the person’s size and that same day, you’re going home with your limbs after you are given a training.”
Unveiling the project, the Project Head, Ishk Limb Centre, Neha Mehra said, the project was initiated in Nigeria in 2009 as the rate of amputees is increasing in the country due to car, motorcycle accident and diabetes, adding that the cost of an artificial limb is expensive, costing about N400, 000, which is unaffordable to the less privilege, living them to use crotches and wheelchairs which is cumbersome, deterring them from living a normal lives.“We started this project because we had a clear vision in mind of supporting people with disabilities, giving them this service free of charge,” she said.
Representing the Rotary club of Singapore, Dr. Shahul Hameed said, as a club, which focuses on service to humanity for the past 19 years, it decided to extend its service to Nigerians to enable the disabled move freely about their daily activities.
Commending the initiative, the District Governor, Rotary International District 9110, Nigeria, Adewale Ogunbadejo stressed on the need to give towards humanity, reaching out to the less privilege in the society, which is the mission of the club.He, however, urged corporate organisations, non-governmental organisations to support humanity by reviving hope in them.
Confirming this, one of the free limbs beneficiaries, Oluwasegun Akingboye, 34, a graduate of Computer Science said the artificial limb has enabled him pick up his life by gaining mobility, just as he appealed for employment to enable him make ends meet.Another beneficiary, Mr. Adeniran Muibi, said he used to depend on his children for everything before, but ever since he received the free artificial limb, his life has changed, “I can now move around and do things on my own.”