GIS:-For the SLBWA to Remain Operational, Considerable Funds are Needed.
The Saint Lucia Blind Welfare Association (SLBWA) has received impetus to continue the fight to ensure its doors remain open, following a $5000 donation by the Libyan Embassy in Saint Lucia, along with a commitment from the Government of Saint Lucia for increased support.
Prior to the donation, the SLBWA was considering closure as a result of extreme financial challenges. To remain viable, Executive Director of the SLBWA, Anthony Avril, explained that considerable funds are needed.
Mr Avril, who is also visually impaired, is calling on all sectors of society to assist in keeping the doors of the institution open.
“We have been in the communities and have worked in good faith. The global situation makes it extremely challenging for agencies like the SLBWA to compete for external resources, but with a concerted effort and with the help of government and the SLBWA, I believe in can be done,” he said. “You know our efforts. Thousands of you have experienced the impact of our services, and thousands of children have had their sight restored through our kids’ insight program.”
Over the past 45years, the services provided by the SLBWA, most of which are free, have focused on education, rehabilitation, and empowerment of the blind and visually impaired. Mr Avril also highlighted the need for support for the Caribbean Council for the Blind, which he says is also going through its own financial difficulties.
During her address on the occasion of Blindness Awareness Month in May, Patron of the Saint Lucia Blind Welfare Association, Governor General HE Dame Pearlette Louisy, has called for increased resources for the association. In her address, Dame Pearlette called on Cabinet to place at the top of its legislative agenda the concerns of blind and visually impaired students.
“The association needs your help and it needs it urgently,” she had said. “The SLBWA is one of those agencies that cannot be criticized for not helping itself or faulted for not remaining relevant. Indeed, judging from the number of persons who now access many of its services, we can say today without any fear of contradiction that the stigma that was traditionally associated with blindness and those afflicted with blindness have disappeared.”
Blindness Awareness Month was observed under the 2017 theme “Blindness Awareness: We need your help.”