The focus this year is inclusion, hence the theme “Empowering today’s youth – tomorrow’s leaders by promoting an inclusive society”. The annual church service which marked the opening of the month long observance was held at the Castries Methodist Church, on Sunday, 15th May, 2016.
The main objectives of Blindness Awareness month 2016 are to attempt to change the perceptions of society in general, and the youth in particular, by “opening” their eyes to the abilities of blind and visually impaired persons. Other objectives attempt to empower the public with the knowledge required to limit discrimination against persons who are blind and visually impaired and to help advocate on their behalf.
The major activities for this year include:
The annual Blindness Awareness Month address by the St. Lucia Blind Welfare Association’s Patron and Governor General of St. Lucia, Her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy.
Participation in Reading Month activities at various schools around the Island, which will place special focus on schools where there are blind and visually impaired students. A major highlight of this activity will be to read to students using Braille, large print or other low vision aid, as well as sensitization sessions.
An Open Day at SLBWA is scheduled for Wednesday, May 25th from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Schools are invited to come in to interact with our staff in our various departments, in order to get a feel of the association’s work, interact with clients, and to participate in blindness simulated exercises.
Major SLBWA fund-raising activities this year include: the SLBWA 2020 challenge- the concept of the 2020 challenge is a health commitment to walk 20 miles in 20 days. Lead an active lifestyle and make a contribution of $20 to the SLBWA. Interested persons are invited to register at our office in San Soucis, where they will receive a form to record daily progress. This challenge culminates at the end of June.
SLBWA dollar drive – in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, schools have been asked to donate one dollar per student on May 31, 2016 (Regional Day for Blindness Awareness). This contribution will be used to help sustain the work of the Association, which includes assisting blind and visually impaired students in purchasing school supplies.
The Saint Lucia Blind Welfare Association encourages the public to ponder on the words of Martina Navratilova, and instil in the minds of our youth that quote: “Disability is a matter of perception. If you can do just one thing well, you’re needed by someone” end of quote.