By CHIOMA OBINNA
Determined to provide better life for the blind and visually impaired in Nigeria, last week, Standard Chartered Bank commissioned a music school for students of the Vocational School of the Nigerian Society for the Blind, Oshodi, Lagos. About one million Nigerians are blind and three million visually impaired.
The school,first of its kind in the country, is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment tailored for the visually impaired.
Group Finance Director, Standard Chartered and Chairman of the “Seeing is Believing” Project Committee, Mr. Richard Meddings explained that the project is part of the Bank’s Seeing is Believing initiative to help combat avoidable blindness in the country.
“In support of the SIB initiative, Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria Limited has held an annual fundraising walk for the last seven years, raising over of $740,000 which has helped to fund successful cataract operations for thousands of people between January 2006 and September 2012.
“We are very proud of what we have achieved with our Walk for Sight initiative in the last seven years in Nigeria. It is quite gratifying to see that the money we have raised from this initiative in has made a positive difference in the activities of our partner NGOs.”
With the commissioning of the school, he said: “Children affected by this scourge can now look to other means of improving their lives through the art of music. For Standard Chartered, by pursuing initiatives such as funding corrective cataract surgeries, we are making a real difference to communities and the environment. The establishment of the school is just one of the several ways we reinforce our brand promise to our stakeholders that we are indeed here for good’’.
In a response, Chairman, Nigerian Society of the Blind, Mrs. Biola Agbaje said: We are grateful to Standard Chartered Bank for taking their partnership with us to the next level through the establishment of the school. The bank has supported many of our initiatives and continues to be at the forefront of raising awareness on the prevention of visual impairment in Nigeria while providing alternative forms of livelihood for people that have been affected by the scourge. No doubt, many of our students will always be indebted to the bank for this generous gift.’’