By Samson Echenim
Leading indigenous oil and gas servicing company, AOS Orwell, in partnership with Inlaks has donated N10 million to the Hope for Sight Initiative (HSI) to assist in conducting cataract surgeries for over 700 Nigerians as part of its corporate social initiatives.
The donation was made on Monday, during a press conference with AOS Orwell, Inlaks and Eye Foundation in Victoria Island, Lagos.
Speaking during the conference, the founder of the initiative, 16-year old Lakshmi Gopinathan, said cataract is the leading cause of blindness in Nigeria accounting for 43 percent of the cases. She talked about her passion to restore eyesight to those battling the disease, considering that she also contended with optical challenges as a child.
Available data disclosed that the disease is common in the older age cadre that is 50 years and above, it is on the rise especially in rural areas of Nigeria where sensitisation levels are low and there is a general misconception of the disease and its treatment options.
Commenting on the donation, Femi Omotayo, managing director, AOS Orwell said, “We are a compassionate organisation with a heart for people. This is why we jumped on this initiative when we were approached. It is a laudable cause and we are proud to throw the full force of our financial weight behind this.”
He further explained that the company has been involved in several other causes that give back to the community on a consistent note.
In her remarks, Adetokunbo Ayo-Ogunsanya, group head, Human Resources and Administration, Inlaks, lauded the Hope for Sight Initiative and its goal to provide free surgeries to visually-impaired persons.
She said, “One of our core values at Inlaks is Excellence, and we are happy to partner with AOS Orwell working with the best in the industry; Eye Foundation on this initiative. It is important to one’s existence to have vision and having the heart to give back to society.”
She expressed her confidence in the Hope for Sight Initiative to change lives and reiterated Inlaks’ commitment to continuing with this noteworthy cause in line with its CSR drive.
Also commenting, Adeyemi Oyewumi, chief business development officer, Eye Foundation, expressed his confidence in the initiative especially because Eye Foundation has conducted thousands of free cataract surgeries and sensitisation programmes in the past.
He further explained that the selection process of candidates would be purely based on a few key factors such as the severity of the condition and willingness of those affected to participate in sensitization and surgery programme among other underlying considerations.