GENERAL Manager, Golden Tulip Hotel, Festac, Lagos and founder, Help To Heal Foundation, Mr. Shousha Mohson during an interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly on Thursday, November 7, 2013, opened up about his love for children and how he intends helping Nigerian children fight cancer.
Golden Tulip in West African region is more than 10 years now. In Nigeria, it is five years with four hotels, one in Lagos (Golden Tulip, Festac Hotel and Conference Centre), one in Ibadan, Port Harcourt and opening another one soon in Warri.
What is the company all about?
We provide high level hospitality with international standard and local flavour.
How does it feel to know you are a leading brand in the hospitality industry?
It is encouraging and motivates us to continually improve ourself and to provide the highest quality of services.
Can you share with us what really separates you from your competitors?
The high quality, we never compromise with the quality. I am proud to say we are the only hotel in Lagos or even in Africa that has a laboratory to analyse the food quality and to make sure that the hygiene conditions are respected 100 per cent, including food security.
So, when you look back, would you say you are doing a good business?
Of course, in the last two years we increased our occupancy. Today, we have five international airlines’ crew staying in our hotel, more conferences and more social events. When you come to our hotel you will not go to any other.
Yes, Nigeria is a big market. However, the challenges we are facing is the very high cost of energy, the infrastructure in the country, the road and the communication. That’s why we attract more business, investors and conferences to improve the mentioned challenges.
Being the founder of Help to Heal Cancer Foundation, what gave you the inspiration?
I got all the inspiration from God and my lovely little daughter. She is the future of my existence. That is why I came up with the idea of helping young children out there so they bring out laughter from the mouth of the parents not tears from the eyes. Besides, I have learnt that 80 per cent of cancer in children can be cured. So, why do I need to keep quiet about it, when I know I can help.
Why going into kids cancer?
Children cancer is considered a nightmare for both children and their families. But in Nigeria, the issue is early diagnosis due to the lack of proper and advanced equipment, required medical skills and suitable medication. In addition, the after-treatment environment is also not available, as many hospitals lack dedicated sections for cancer treatment with proper facilities. That is the major reason we decided to treat kids cancer. Also, it is important that individuals and families are given information and they get trained on how to deal with children cancer.
Why do you think children cancer is a problem in Nigeria?
One of the most growing diseases in Nigeria is children cancer. The problem is that many hospitals are still not equipped to deal with cancer patients in general, let alone children, starting from diagnosing cancer to treatment. Also cancer treatment is very expensive and many families can’t afford it.
But what happens if there are children who have cancer and can’t afford to travel or be properly treated in Nigeria?
That was the main reason I came up with Help to Heal Cancer Foundation. Children who are living with cancer need a minimum of three months for treatment in a clean and hygienic environment, which is not always available.
We learnt you are building a pediatric hospital here in Lagos, can you tell us more about it?
No, we are not building a pediatric hospital yet. As a hotel associated with Help to Heal Foundation, we are helping children fight cancer and assisting in collecting funds to improve the treatment of the children who are suffering from cancer. However, we are strongly encouraging all good men and women in Nigeria to assist and invest to build a proper specialized hospital to help children fight cancer.
How much will the project gulp?
Hopefully, enough amount to assist the children.
Can you shed more light on the fund raising programme?
We are organizing an event on Saturday, December 7, 2012, at Golden Tulip Hotel, Festac, Lagos, tagged Pediatric Cancer Concert, which will include entertainment from famous artistes in Nigeria such as Onyeka Onwenu, Kcee of Five Star Music, Flavour N’abania, Ali Baba and many more. It will also showcase some of the most popular Nollywood actors and actresses. With dinner for N1 million per table of eight including two double rooms and breakfast for one night and also organizing an auction during the event to raise money and all will go to help and assist the children fighting cancer.
What are the challenges you are facing?
The major challenge we are facing is getting the funds. But my team and I have a believe that we don’t mind dying to make it. One thing I know is that, no matter the time and energy the team puts in, we will not stop until we make it.
What other corporate social responsibility activities are you into?
Music. We are the creator of the music festival, Lagos to discover talents. We also assist students in their education and also organize some training.
Let’s get to know a bit about you?
I am a Swiss hotelier, with Egyptian roots. I have been working in the hospitality industry for 25 years. After my Swiss education, I spent some years working in Europe and the Middle East. I came to Africa eight years ago and I intend to end my professional life here because I love Africa.
What is family life for you like?
It is very difficult to separate work from family because I work in a hotel. Family life is during vacation which is the best moment to spend with them.
How do you strike balance between work, family and pleasure?
I can’t say much on that because it is very difficult.
Where are you taking Golden Tulip in few years?
No plan yet but I am here in Lagos for a while.
– DOLAPO AMODENI