Lions Club performs eye surgery for Lagos student

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By Bianca Iboma-Emefu

The The Lagos Mainland Legacy Lions Club recently performed eye surgery for a student at Pacelli School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Surulere, Lagos State.

The club’s project coordinator, Ochuko Ukrakpor, said investing in eyesight is one of the club’s commitments to society and that they will not relent in their efforts to help the less privileged with poor eyesight.

Speaking at the N170,000 donation to Joshua Adesumbo, a visually impaired student from Pacelli School of the Blind, Ukrakpor said, “Lions Clubs around the world have five main projects; they are eyesight, diabetes, environment, diet and cancer, and we are happy to be part of this milestone.

“We are here to support and the young boy regains his sight. We reach out to him because there is a need in society, and when we came to the school for a needs assessment exercise, we were told he was a visually impaired student, his medical reports, bed, that with the help of surgery, he could see again, after having regained his sight.

“We will be visiting the school again in the near future and supporting them as needed, as the need arises. The club has decided to sponsor the treatment of the student who has an eye defect,” she said.

The school principal, Reverend Sister Jane Onyeneri, was delighted and expressed her gratitude to the club for their kind gesture.

Onyeneri spoke passionately about the school’s activities, the challenges and the joy of giving “eyes” to the blind.

She said that at the initiative of the then Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Leo Hale Taylor, the Pacelli School for the Blind and Visually Impaired was opened on June 16, 1962, following permission granted on June 26 April of the same year by the Nigerian government for the creation of a special school for the education of the visually impaired.

Onyeneri said the school was named after Pope Pius XII, Eugenio Pacelli, the school’s first trustees include, Rev. Fr. Dempsey, a Dominican priest, who was the principal, along with Rev. Sr. Mary de Chantel of the Irish Sisters of Charity, a Catholic women’s religious congregation in Ireland, as director. The Reverend Sisters of Ireland remained the trustees until 1980, when the Servants of the Holy Child Jesus; an indigenous religious congregation replaced them. They have continued with the administration of the school to this day.

“The upkeep and education of this category of people has been the sole responsibility of the Catholic Mission, supported by benevolent individuals, religious groups and corporate organizations in society.

“The school started with four students, but today it has graduated many who have since found their place in society.

“Currently there are 140 students, with a headcount of 38. There are five Reverend Sisters working with the team and the school is run solely through charity and admission is free.”

She explained that Pacelli runs an elementary school system, but with a rehabilitation program for high school students. But whether it is for the primary or rehabilitation program, there are strict admission procedures.

According to her, for rehabilitation, students are kept for a year to be taught Braille reading and writing, orientation and mobility, life skills, typing, music and others. Once they have mastered these skills, they graduate into six free basics.

Event chair Racheal Greenwood said the most important thing was for Lions to give sight by conducting sight screenings, equipping hospitals and clinics, distributing medicine and raising awareness about eye disease with on a mission to provide a vision for all, humanitarian causes and grassroots projects.

Greenwood noted that the club would focus on restoring the visions of the visually impaired.

According to her, the main objective of the club was to meet the needs of the less privileged, adding that there would have been a greater number of less privileged people without service organizations like the Lions Club.

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