The Saint Lucia Blind Welfare Association (SLBWA) has been hit by a financial crisis, raising questions about whether the organisation will be able to continue functioning for the next few months, Executive Director – Anthony Avril has disclosed.
“It is very critical,” Avril explained.
He told the Times that the association needs about $50,000 monthly to take care of its bills, but currently receives between $30,000 and $40,000.
“We are running at a deficit,” the Executive Director declared.
Avril explained that the organisation receives a direct government subvention of some $95,000 annually.
He disclosed that the government also pays qualified teachers used by the association and provides duty free concessions to the SLBWA.
He observed that if there is no change in the financial situation, he was not sure that the SLBWA would be able to survive the next few months.
Avril told the Times that the SLBWA depends heavily on financial support from outside of Saint Lucia.
The SLBWA official however noted that the support is affected by global trends.
“You don’t need to be an expert to realise that globally, the situation is rather tenuous,” Avril stated, adding that the agencies that supported the local association in the past are themselves now struggling to survive.
He said agencies providing human services appear to be low on the list of priorities of the international community.
The SLBWA was created in 1972 to provide support to people affected by blindness and visual impairment.
Anthony Avril told the Times that the services provided by the association are free with the exception of the eye clinic.
But he noted that the clinic has a policy of not turning away people who cannot afford to pay.
According to Avril, the SLBWA plans to launch a national ‘dollar drive’, asking Saint Lucians to contribute one dollar a month to help the organisation to survive.
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