NASSAU, BAHAMAS — It is important that society accepts people with disabilities into every sphere of life and supports them in their endeavors to play meaningful roles. For the blind, being included is important to their well-being and gives them a chance to make a difference. For this reason, the Bahamas Alliance for the Blind and Visually Impaired (BABVI) is celebrating International World Sight Day on Thursday, October 14, and White Cane Day on Friday, October 16, under the theme “Embracing Diversity and Inclusiveness”.
The entire month of October is celebrated as Blindness Awareness Month. This month, BABVI is asking the general public to assist in its goal of having an official location from which to operate and continue its work to support its members.
BABVI, a group of about 70 members strong and growing. One of its main goals is to help its members live more normal lives. It offers training in reading Braille to youngsters and adults, and also trains them in the use of special software for phones and laptops to help make life easier.
BABVI also plays an important role as a support group. For anyone who may have recently become blind or visually impaired, the group is a vital part of providing the support they need to adjust and go on living their lives. Life skills training, as well as job skills training help, make it easier for them to achieve gainful employment and live full, happy lives.
It has been 13 years since BABVI was established. To date, the association still does not have a fixed location for members.
This year, BABVI President Robertha Johnson is calling for the public to assist by donating to BABVI. In addition to a location, funds are vital to continue their training efforts.
“This theme of ‘Embracing Diversity and Inclusiveness’ is a call for society to recognize the important role that each individual plays, irrespective of their status, disabled or not,” said Johnson.
“They should be allowed to exercise their rights to participate fully in all areas of life, including education and training, rehabilitation, employment and recreation. This allows everyone to become whatever he or she wants to be.
“Although living in the midst of a pandemic, during this month, we continue to call upon everyone to be responsible by protecting their eyes; preserve their vision and to do everything possible to prevent unavoidable blindness in themselves and their loved ones; to see blind and visually impaired persons as equal members of society who, when allowed, are contributing positively to the development of our country and indeed the world.
“Finally, join in partnership with the alliance in carrying out its mandate; advocate for change and to create opportunities for those who sight cannot be restored.”
Those who donate to BABVI during Blindness Awareness Month will be entered into a raffle to win $25 Edson Gas Vouchers and the grand prize — a two-night stay in a three-bedroom villa in Moss Town, Exuma, at Mattie’s Place, accommodation only.
For more information and to donate to BABVI, visit its Facebook page: The Bahamas Alliance for the Blind and Visually Impaired; contact President Johnson at 802-BABVI (802-2284); or make a direct donation to their account at Scotiabank Square under the association’s name and account number 700459911.