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Governor General calls for increased funding for SLBWA

GIS:-Saint Lucia’s Governor General, Her Excellency, Dame Pearlette Louisy, has launched an appeal for urgent assistance and support for the Saint Lucia Blind Welfare Association (SLBWA).

The Governor General, who is also the patron of the SLBWA, said the association is in need of funding to support its services and programs.

“This year’s theme is ‘Blindness Awareness: We Need Your Help.’ It brings into sharp focus the challenges of the association over the years,” said the Governor General.

“The association’s management team has described the past year as one of its worst to date. The SLBWA urgently needs your help. It is one of those agencies that cannot be criticized for not helping itself, or faulted for not ensuring that it remains relevant. Indeed, judging by the number of persons who now access its many services, we can say without any fear of contradiction that the stigma that was traditionally associated with blindness and those afflicted with blindness has all but disappeared. The perception of welfare has now given way to service that is easily accessible, and at a nominal or no cost to persons irrespective of social or economic status, who are living with blindness, low vision or other forms of visual impairment.

“The association describes itself as an organization with vision, and justifiably so, for vision is not only the act or faculty of seeing things with the physical eye, but also the faculty of perceiving things, present or future, through the mind’s eye.”

Dame Pearlette’s call comes as the SLBWA brings the curtains down on the observance of Blindness Awareness Month in May.

Over the past 44 years, the association has been able to transform itself from a sheltered school and workshop for the blind, to a dynamic organization offering diversified services to the blind and visually impaired. Those services include providing integrated education for blind and visually impaired students in regular schools alongside their sighted peers, The Eye Care Clinic, The Kids Insight Project and the National Diabetic Retinography Screening and Treatment Program, among others.

In her address, the Governor General also thanked all partners and benefactors of the Saint Lucia Blind Welfare Association for their support over the past year, and during the month-long program of activities.

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