Eye On Sight Newsletter Q1 2011


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CCB-Eye Care Caribbean is pleased to present the first edition of what is initially intended to be a Quarterly Newsletter, “Eye on Sight”. The Newsletter will cover developments, services, updates and plans by the Organisation, its Member Agencies and Partners across the Region and around the World.

It will be published in: March, June, September and December and only available electronically.
We extend our appreciation to our Members and Partners, our Communications Officer and Team for their support in the launch of this initiative.

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Eye On Sight Newsletter Q1 2011

  1. 1. E Y E O N S I G H T How can you help? Donate to CCB Eye Care Caribbean via www.eyecarecaribbean.com A Quarterly Newsletter Surviving - Against All Odds From the Desk of .... Living in Making strides in In this our first issue - darkness Guyana.. 2010 The day was similar to any CEO Arvel Grant but not other for Juliette. Little did she shares his vision for the daunted know that in a moment her life year ahead “What I would be changed in an Page 2 really feel instant. - Cover Story cause the blindness is Highlights that I was supposed to use drops in the eyes. Most times when I went to the hospital I Page 3 Page 2 didn’t get them” said Alfred Rogers Page 3 On this day, Juliette got off the bus andSurviving - walked by KFC in the Rodney Bay Mall , she was caught off-guard as Joseph jumped out of nowhere with a cutlassAgainst All which he used to chop her all over her body with severe blows to her eyes, nose, ears and hands.Odds .... In ICU(Juliette’s Tale) Following the attack, Juliette was taken to Victoria Hospital by ambulance where Juliette Mauricette and her son she was treated and admitted to theThe day was similar to any other for Intensive Care Unit for one month.twenty six (26) year old JulietteMauricette, as she made her way to work The news of the gruesome attack senton the morning of Friday June 12, 2009. activities at her working place - a shock waves across the island.Little did she know that in a moment her restaurant located in Rodney Bay, St In December 2010, we visited Juliette atlife as she knew it for over twenty years Lucia. She also had a new outlook on life, her home in the village of Canarieswould be changed in an instant. having recently separated from what was located on St Lucias West Coast. Along reported to be abusive relationship with with Anthony Avril, from the St LuciaJuliette, a mother of three was in a jovial her boyfriend and father of her children, Blind Welfare Association, (SLBWA)mood and looked forward to the days Matha Joseph. Juliette invited us in and shared her story.www.eyecarecaribbean.com 1
  2. 2. E Y E C A R E C A R I B B E A N "It happened when my ex-boyfriend attacked cannot open or close it. It is very painful, if FROM THE me with a cutlass, and from the day he somebody tries to touch it, I feel a shock pain. DESK OF THE attacked me the cutlass took my eyes.... I There are many things I cant do on my own , didnt see anything again. I remember when I thats when I start to remember when I had CEO.... went to ICU and they put the eye pads on my my sight. (Then) I didnt have to depend on eyes and when they took them off I could not anyone, I could come and go as I wanted to" see. I remember when the Doctor didnt break she lamented. the news to me, he only said he was going to transfer me to the Blind Welfare Association. Juliette then removed her sunglasses for a I said me? It was a lot. I can remember when closer to reveal her eyes. someone from the Blind Welfare Association This year 2011, came to visit me in the “The cutlass took out my eye completely, marks the 100th Hospital that it was hanging, so I have nothing in my anniversary of the afternoon, I didnt left eye. In my right eye, the eyeballCaribbean-wide initiative of the late want to have anything remains but I can see nothing from it”JAMES AUGUSTUS ALVES, to to do with her"establish formal work with and for The Road to Recoverypersons who are blind. In 1911, Mr.Alves (1883 – 1969) was born in According to Anthony Avril, the road Released from HospitalBerbice, Guyana. towards recovery will not be a smooth But shortly after being released from the one for Juliette.He travelled throughout the English- Hospital, Juliette visited the St Luciaspeaking Caribbean, seeking to Blind Welfare Association. “Even to use a computer, she relies on herconvince political, business and civic hands, when you are blind, your fingersleaders, of the need to establish "When I got to the Blind Welfare I did feel become your eyes, we call them the seeingprogrammes of services for the blind. different, I got encouragement from the staff, fingers. Its a challenge for her but she is they told me that its okay, its not to the end strong” he saidEventually, he decided to focus on of the world, I still have my life. I live with itTrinidad. In a feat showing initiative everyday , it is still frustrating but I dont Concerning her ex-boyfriend and fatherand determination, the indefatigable make it a big issue. Its not as frustrating as of her children, Matha Joseph, he wasJames Alves travelled across the when it just happened" sentenced to seven years in prison.island by horse-drawn carts and With encouragement from members of the Juliette admits that she is terrified justtrain, collecting data about persons Association, she then began to take baby steps thinking of the day he will be releasedwho were blind. At the end of the towards adjusting to blindness. However While confessing to bouts ofsurvey, he found five hundred and there was a setback as Juliette found out that depression and eventhirty-three persons; (533), two she was pregnant once again."I am not contemplating suicide,hundred and forty-six males (246) working right now, I was taking training at Juliette who is now twentyand two hundred and eighty-seven the Blind Welfare, but I am now pregnant , it eight (28) remains hopefulfemales (287); and, including eleven makes me tired, frustrated, I always want to and refuses to be! daunted.(11) children. lie down, but after the baby I will start taking She looks forward to the my Computer Classes seriously" future and the birth of her APPROACHES child. COLONIAL Seated on her bed and in an advanced SECRETARY state of pregnancy, "Before this happened, I had a good life. There Armed with the she opened up are a few things that I desire right now, such results of the about her injuries as a comfortable home or even a room for a survey, and with by removing her person who is blind. Probably I would also letters of support glasses and like to have a job one day. Something that from the Royal showing the could suit my situation. To be independent inNormal College and Academy of damage done to my home and to be independent financially,Music for the Blind and Lady Frances her hands. once again"Campbell (an advocate of training for But until everything falls in place, I willthe blind in the U.K.), Mr.Alves "I have very little use of my right hand. I lost continue to be strong, I have to be strong” my thumb. My left hand - is of no use, I she said. 2 www.eyecaribbean.com
  3. 3. MAKING STRIDES - Living in 2010 ights Highl OPTOMETRY DEGREE LAUNCHED darkness but not daunted In a move that has been hailed as •The Caribbean was affected by one Alfred Rogers was seated a breakthrough in the of the most devastating natural on a stool next to a tiny development of skilled eye disasters when a 7.0 magnitude wobbly wooden structure health workers in the region, the earthquake struck Haiti on January that was laden with an degree course in Optometry 12th leaving the capital, Port -au- assortment of snacks. A came into being at the University Prince, the densely populated areas of handwritten sign placed Petionville, Carrefour, Delmas and of Guyana in August 2010. just behind the stall read. other surrounding districts in ruins. The Haitian Society for the Help of The programme which was the “Kindly assist this blind the Blind (SHAA), a CCB Member culmination of a long-running mans stand - Alfred Agency, not only suffered severe campaign by the Caribbean Rogers" damage to its offices, but also lost Council for the Blind (CCB) came members, families and friends to the about in an effort to help bring disaster. For over 40 years, Alfred the ratio  of eye care CCB and Sightsavers worked with was like any other sighted professionals closer to SHAA to provide short-term relief to person, active in his acceptable international clients (of SHAA) who are blind or community and had a standards. visually impaired and assistance to steady job. As a result CCB partnered with secure alternative office space, re- the University of Guyana,  to establish administrative structure and But one day in 2001 – resume its programmes. launch a 4-year Bachelor of Glaucoma, the thief of Science Degree in sight-robbed him of his •With the help of Sightsavers, CCB Optometry. Today the course of vision. and several of its partners secured study includes students from The funding from the European Commonwealth of Dominica; It was a hot December Commission for a Project, “Promoting Guyana; Haiti, Jamaica and Vision 2020 to eliminate avoidable afternoon in 2010 when we St. Lucia. blindness through capacity building”. ventured into the village of In addition to the BSc in The funding of Euro 4,000,000 or Agricola, three miles outside Optometry the University of 73.66%, over a period of five years, of the capital of Guyana also offers the Certificate beginning in 2010, together with co- Georgetown. in Refraction Techniques, and an funding from Sightsavers, will enable CCB to deliver the following: Associate Degree in Optometry . This is the area Alfred calls (page 5) (page 6) home. (page 4)www.eyecarecaribbean.com 3
  4. 4. Living in darkness but not While fiercely independent in his own daunted..... Today Alfred not only runs his small surroundings Alfred fears being alone business, he proudly revealed that he and the possibility of having to"In 2001 I was working at a company, can wash, cook relocate from Agricola.while at work we had a morning session and clean. Hewhich was good, I had lunch and then is also “I dont have the training yet to movewent to lie down. When I got up my guardian to in areas that I dont know yet, so iteyes started to get hazy. From then on his twelve would be difficult if I have to move.they send me home. The Doctor told me year old (12) Eventually if I get into a newit was Glaucoma and they started niece and environment I would have to starttreating me from then on” eight (8) year old nephew. learning it all over again. I may have to move from here and that would breakThe diagnosis came as a shock, after “ I didnt live around anyone who my heart, it don’t know where to go, Iall, like so many others stricken with was responsible for me. So I had to take dont think I would have the childrenGlaucoma, there are no symptoms care of myself. As a matter of fact the again and then I would be all alone.and in an instant your world is people I live around I am responsible for When youre blind you cant live onenveloped in darkness. them. I have my niece and nephew, they your own. That is the one thing that rely more on me than I rely on them. So bothers me when I think about the dayAlfred believes that the lack of the I have to keep active and try everything when I have to move”prescribed eyedrops used to treat for myself. Everything depends on me. IGlaucoma resulted in the rapid have to live with it. If Im washing,I But in spite of the challenges he had adeterioration of his vision. dont know if I washing clean or not but message for those faced with the I just have to deal with it.” possibility of losing their sight to “What I really feel cause the blindness Glaucoma.is that I was supposed to use drops in The process of rehabilitation is notthe eyes. Most times when I went to the always easy. While Alfred has “The situation is not something easyhospital for the drops I didnt get them. managed the routine daily tasks, to live with, you have to understandThey would give a prescription for me to there is one aspect of adjusting to that because youre not seeingget the drops outside. After a time I blindness that is a challenge. That of anymore. You have to change yourdidnt have any money to buy them and mastering the use of his cane. With lifestyle. The first thing you have to doso by missing the drops I eventually got the assistance of Adjustment to is to accept it and if you accept it,blind” Blindness specialist, Nicole Forde prepare to live with it. If you dont from the Caribbean Council for the accept it there can be problems, youSo he did the next best thing – and Blind (CCB), Guyana office, Alfred might even feel like ending your ownprepared for the inevitable. continues to progress. life...but then remember life has to go on, it must go on. Dont ever get“So even before I got totally blind, I “The frustrated.”prepared, I started changing my entire difficult Video of Alfred Roger’s storystyle towards life, I started to adjust, so part iswhen I got blind it wasnt all that movingstrange to me. One of the things I aroundstarted doing was to blindfold myself in on thethe house and start to move around. I streetswas thinking that if I became totally byblind I would not be too frustrated” myself, so Nicole has helped me with that part and how to maneuver. I try to“I also asked myself if I could live with practice, in the yard or around the area, "http://www.youtube.com/embed/EcbeigjvmyY"my new situation and the answer was Im getting accustomed to it but itsyes. Once you have life there is always hard, its really hard.”hope”4 www.eyecarecaribbean.com
  5. 5. • In keeping with its work •In an effort to enhance Vision 2020 2010 Highlights (cont’d from pg 3) programme for the implementation Services in Antigua and Barbuda, a I. To reduce the prevalence of of the EC project, a Team from the CCB Secretariat Team made a blindness and visual impairment CCB Secretariat conducted presentation to Prime Minister amongst rural and poor populations technical visits to Project Partners Baldwin Spencer and his Cabinet in in the Caribbean. in Guyana, St. Lucia, Jamaica and September. The meeting focused on II. Strengthen collaboration and Haiti during the year. The visits the implementation of a collaborative coordination between State and Non- were geared towards assisting the Project for the provision of quality State Actors at regional and national partners with activities outlined in and affordable Eye Health Services, in level to support effective the project. the twin-island State. Following implementation of programmes for intensive discussions, Cabinet has the provision of inclusive services to •In order to familiarise herself agreed to study the proposal and support effective implementation of with projects supported by communicate its decision to the programmes for the provision of Sightsavers in the Caribbean, Secretariat inclusive services to persons who are Director of International blind or visually impaired. Programme Operations with •On November 19th, CCB held its Sightsavers, Adelaide Addo- The specific objective is to build the first Executive Committee Meeting Fening, visited Antigua and St. capacity of Partners and Vision 2020 utilising the Conference Bridge Lucia during the period August Committees in Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica operated by LIME. Hosted by the and St Lucia. 9th to 13th, 2010. The main Secretariat, Executive Members in purpose of the visits to CCB Guyana, Jamaica, The Bahamas, St. Secretariat (Antigua) and St. Lucia Lucia and Antigua discussed •In its continuing effort to promote Blind Welfare Association pertinent issues without meeting face- social inclusion, the West Indies (SLBWA) was to meet members of to-face, a viable option given the Cricket Staff and develop an rising cost of air travel. Council for understanding of both the Blind Organisations, their Membership (WICCB) and Programs. •CCB continues to strengthen it successfully partnerships with: Sightsavers, ICEE, organised PAHO, IAPB, HelpAge International, its 5th •In its quest to increase the Corps ORBIS International and CARIOA Regional of Youth Leaders in the Region, the through the Annual Meeting of Tournament CCB Secretariat hosted a International Non-Governmental during the Leadership Development Organisations Collaborating Group period June 5th to 13th, with Workshop for Persons with Visual (INGO-CG) held in Jamaica on participating National Teams : Impairment at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, December 1st, 2010. One of the Barbados, Jamaica, the Windward Barbados, between July 26th and outcomes of the Meeting was an Islands and Trinidad and Tobago. 29th, 2010. The main Facilitator, Dr. undertaking by IAPB to provide some Additionally, the Council hosted an resources to facilitate an Advocacy Aubrey Webson (Program International Series beteen an Workshop and Reception for Coordinator/Snr. Consultant, Australian and the West Indies Teams Stakeholders in Guyana, in tandem Perkins International Development from June 15th to 19th, 2010. Both Program), was supported by Arvel with the 2011 Meeting, scheduled for Tournaments were held in Barbados. Grant (CEO – CCB-Eye Care Guyana. Caribbean), Senator Kerryann Ifill, and two Guest Speakers drawn In the Regional Tournament, Jamaica from the Public and Private Sectors won both the Challenge Trophy and of Barbados. Dr.Gavin Henry the League Cup; while in the At the conclusion of the Workshop, of Mandeville International Series, both the One Day Participants established a Group, Eye Clinic - International (ODI) and the first Jamaica, “Youth Network for examines a Game of the T/20 Series were won by Empowerment, Advocacy and patient the West Indies Team (the second Action”, and have created a Social match of the T/20 Series being Media link to facilitate contact abandoned due to rain). and interaction.www.eyecarecaribbean.com 5
  6. 6. Making strides (cont’d from pg3) From the desk of the CEO... Elimination of Avoidable Blindness (cont’d from pg 2) (Now Vision 2020 – The Right To Sight).At the launch of They were so impressed with his Human Resource Development.the degree findings that the Colonial Secretary Our work over the years has led to theprogram in requested the Executive Council training and placement ofGuyana in (Governing Council) by way of a motion Ophthalmologists in: Guyana, Belize andFebruary 2010, in the Legislature, to give support to a most of the countries in the EasternGuyanas Health scheme for the education and training of Caribbean.Minister Leslie persons who were blind. We have also trained nurses and otherRamsammy said the primary health care workers.preservation of sight throughout the Motion approvedCaribbean must be a public health In 1913, (the exact date is unknown), thepriority. Legislative Council approved a motion Capacity building, advocacy and for the establishment of a scheme for the"It is a matter of fundamental human fund-raising instruction of the blind in Trinidad andrights, unfortunately sight preservation, This is a most important area of our Tobago. The meeting later took theprevention of sight loss , the provision of work. Over the years, support by decision to commence preliminary workservices to those who live with visual National Governments, has been for the blind on May 18th,1914.impairments have been neglected supplemented with inputs from Private (www.eyecarecaribbean.com/challenges on the developmental agenda” Individuals; Development Jamesalves)he said Organizations; the Business Sector and Bilateral and Multilateral Organizations.According to CCB-Eye Care Service programmes established Over the next 50 years, The countries of As the national, regional and globalCaribbean’s CEO, Arvel Grant, it is the English-speaking Caribbean, economic realities become more difficult,now anticipated that in 2014 , fifteen followed the lead of Trinidad & Tobago, children and adults who are blind,willnew Optometrists will be graduating. and established service programmes find them selves in greatest need of catering to persons who are blind. support from all sectors of society.“The English-speaking Caribbean needs  at In 1967, organizations (serving personsleast six hundred Optometrists to equate who are blind in the Caribbean) Eye On Sight, is part of our effort to keepOptometric standards currently obtained convened, to form the Caribbean you informed about the realities of thein Britain and Australia” he said. Council For The Blind (CCB). Since 60,000 persons who are blind in the then CCB (with support from: English-Speaking Caribbean; the moreIn looking toward the future, CCB-Eye SightSavers, ORBIS UK, CNIB, HKI and than 180,000 persons who are severelyCare Caribbean plans to enter into Perkins International, ICEE, PAHO- visually impaired; and the more thansimilar arrangements with more WHO and CBM) coordinated, funded three million citizens, who need to wearuniversities across the Caribbean, to and (otherwise) facilitated extensive prescription glasses or contact lens, inhelp fill the overwhelming gaps in developments in: eye health, inclusive order to see normally.service in the regions eye health   education adjustment to blindness andcapabilities. capacity building, advocacy and fundraising. L-R Arvel Grant One of our most successful feats of (CEO), Keva Richards (CCB) advocacy is the inclusion of questions in Nurse Joyce Gooden the regional census, which counts (Mandeville Eye persons who are blind in each Clinic-Jamaica) community. Much of our work has been influenced by the World Health OrganisationsJamaica Society for the Blind Headquarters (WHO) Global initiative For The ! ! 6 www.eyecarecaribbean.com
  7. 7. Our Mission, Our Purpose, Our Goal.... “Eye On Sight” will cover developments, services, updates and Our purpose is preventing blindness and plans by the Organisation, its Member Agencies and Partners across the visual impairment while restoring sight and Region. creating opportunities for persons whose sight cannot be restored. This newsletter will be available electronically and will be published in March, June, September and December. Visit www.eyecarecaribbean.com We extend our appreciation to our Members and Partners , our Communications Officer and Team for for your copy of their support in the launch of this initiative. “Eye On Sight” Follow us on..... EYE ON SIGHT is produced with the support of the following Organisations. @ccbeyecareThe European Commission @ CCB Eye Care CaribbeanSightsavers Eye Care Guyana How can you help?The Jamaica Society for the Blind Please donate to CCB Eye Care Caribbean.The St. Lucia Blind Welfare Donations may be made via our websiteAssociation www.eyecarecaribbean.comwww.eyecarecaribbean.com 7