By Grace Alegba
A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Touch of Love and Lifting Hands Foundation, has renewed its calls on governments at all levels to take care of the elderly very serious in order to attract God’s blessings on the nation.
The Founder/CEO of the foundation, Mrs Atinuke Owolabi, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of an end-of-the-year free eye screening and get-together for some elderly and widows in Lagos.
NAN reports that the NGO caters for the welfare of old people, widows and the needy in the society.
Owolabi said that the old people had spent their youthful years serving and building various segments of the nation’s economy and society, and should not be neglected in their old age.
“Some of these old people are being owed pensions after using their youthful age to serve their fatherland. Some of them are lonely because their partners are dead; some of them do not have children.’’
The government should look after the old people so that the blessings of God would come to our country, she said.
She appealed to the government and the well-to-do in the society to partner genuine NGOs to put smiles on the faces of old people.
“NGOs do not compete with government, rather, they complement government but in a less or non-bureaucratic but professional way.
“If NGOs are in genuine collaboration with government, the society will be a better place and the dream of a just and equitable society can be realised,” Owolabi said.
Owolabi also appealed for government’s support for abandoned widows in the society.
She recalled the hardships faced in the Year 2020 by the public such as the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that slowed the nation’s economy and the #EndSARS protests that almost crumbled Lagos State.
She said the foundation founded on Dec. 29, 2017, had carried out several social interventions and provided “care, succour and a place of relaxation for the aged and widows in our society.
“Our impact on the society speaks for itself but it can be made better through collaboration between NGOs and government.
“This is the best way to move the society forward. No alternatives,” she said.
Owolabi called for medical and financial assistance for one of the old widows diagnosed with breast cancer for her to undergo surgery and save her life.
She said that the foundation had lost some widows and old people to death due to financial constraints, while some had gone blind due to late intervention to restore their sights.
NAN reports that free eye checks were carried out on 1,000 old people, given glasses, while those with complex cases were referred to specialist hospitals.
The beneficiaries who were hosted in three batches in line with COVID-19 protocols were given gifts and served food.
They were also treated to danceable music, games and had fun.
The programme was tagged: “Humanity and Good Governance, a Sine Qua Non For a Just and Equitable society.