Saint Lucia Blind Welfare Association may close within three months due to financial constraints

By SNO Staff

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SLBWA headquarters.

After 45 years of existence, the Saint Lucia Blind Welfare Association (SLBWA) has said that it may be forced to close down due to financial constraints.

The SLBWA was established in 1972 by an act of parliament to provide education and vocational training, employment, and assist generally with the provision of social and other services for blind and visually-impaired people.

Eye-screening, the provision of low-cost eye glasses, and prevention of blindness are also aims of the association.

Avril

SLBWA Executive Director Anthony Avril said that of late, the association has been struggling to keep afloat. According to him, about 80 percent of the SLBWA’s services are free of charge.

“Unfortunately the St. Lucia Blind Welfare Association, at this point, is in serious financial problem. Of course, we have been saying so to the public for some time. We have been trying our best to keep the services afloat and doing our best to continue to serve St Lucians who are in need of the services but we’re at the point where we cannot continue providing the services without significant help from the community,” he told HTS News4orce.

“At the end of each month we are struggling to meet the commitment and for this month of July we’re not sure how we’re going to address the commitments. So we’re looking at drastically curtailing the services by putting people on rotation…By the end of the day, we just can’t continue the services if we do not have the means to do so. So that’s the problem and that’s what we wanna communicate to St. Lucians – that there is a real strong possibility that the St Lucia Blind Welfare Association will not be around to continue to provide the services that they have been providing,” he stated.

The executive director said that in an effort to raise some funds, the association will launch a national dollar-drive in August, “but the situation is hard. It is bleak. Eighty percent of the association’s services are being given free and it’s just not possible to continue to operate under the pressure.”

Avril said that if something is not done, the association could be forced to close within three months, which could leave residents without essential eye care services.

Though the government provides an annual subvention to the SLBWA, the association provides hundreds of thousands of dollars in free eye services each year.

 

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11 comments

  1. The blind welfare needs financial assistance ok but wat they r doing to assist themselves as well government cannot do everything they need to help themselves as well fundraising events n I hope is not no Bor ball that going on there

    (0)(0)
  2. We are our worst enemy. Lucians like too much freeness. Persons use the resources of this organisation and refuse to pay. Mr Avril said on newspin that they don't turn away anyone and I believe people are abusing the generosity of the Association. Same thing for VH they going and make their children and refuse to pay their bill. Even if you can't pay all at least pay something on it. But no, once they know is government they don't need to pay.

    (4)(0)
  3. Concerned Citizen

    I have worked intimately with this organization. Mr. Avril has the best interest of the blind at heart. He gives his personal dollars to those in need. It is not the blind leading the blind....It is leading by example.
    I have read some of the responses about placing blame at the top. You can blame Mr. Avril for having compassion and providing opportunities for those who have not gotten a fair shake in life.
    I would suspect the origin of the "anonymous" post are the very same people who have "worked" the system for years. Made them self scarce instead of showing up for work, rolling your sleeves up and serving this population with a 100% effort. Sitting back and allowing 10% of the employees to do 90% of the work.
    Maybe SLBWA should develop the approach that you are paid on what you produce. Create standards and outcome basing pay on the work that has been completed.
    Restructuring should occur but maybe the focus should be on those who are dead weight and are dragging this service down. Those who live in a glass house should not throw stones.

    (4)(1)
  4. Didn't the association's administration see this coming? Doesn't the organization have fund raising initiatives?
    Surely some restructuring from the top is necessary.

    (5)(2)
  5. I am all for assisting but I don't believe in doing things blindly (no pun intended). I think the pertinent questions are not being asked. What has SLBWA's administration been doing to sustain the organization?
    I want to believe they know that projects, which Anthony speaks so much about, have a life span. Apart from begging in the media, what major and meaningful fund raisers have been undertaken?
    Why are they no longer making mops?
    We must never totally be dependent on government.
    Honestly, how did a once thriving model organization be in such a predicament?
    Surely this couldn't have happened overnight.
    Poor and ancient management and possible mismanagement of funds is what this looks like to me, looking in from the outside.
    If this organization's administration is not restructured, pumping money into it will be like trying to fill a bucket with a hole in the bottom.
    Sad!!!

    (6)(2)
  6. Don't tell me the government of st.Lucia will allow that to happen.

    (3)(5)
  7. So many hotels yes so many of them and the digicel's the government can only give so much but is AVIL THAT NEED TO GO. The blind leading the blind has he ever organized any fundraiser or marathons to raise the necessary funds for SLBWA I would like to know ? People are usually soft hearted when it comes to situations such as this and would gladly give something. Where is the collection box at Jazz I never see it ? He went behind Courts ? He went to Digicel or Flow or the distillers and ask for a charitable contribution to help out they would never tell him no it's a good PR move for companies like these. Don't wait on government they don't care about poor people especially this one that's in power now appeal to the everyday folks go to the malls set up charity boxes in well establish business and churches. Leave one at the casino too and on Chastanet door step.

    (5)(0)
  8. I've asked those in charge to set up a Go fund me account so people all over the world can donate to keep this fund going.

    (7)(0)
  9. Very sad.

    (0)(0)
  10. You mean so many companies, hotels,flow, digicel the banks, organization such as churches clubs oh its a shame St Lucia mamamia.

    (5)(3)

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