Association opens secretariat to help visually impaired persons by Jaime Hall
Guyana Chronicle
June 2, 2004

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A SECRETARIAT of the Guyana Association for the Visually Impaired (GAVI) dedicated at a simple ceremony Monday will be used to address the needs of visually impaired persons, particularly those who are of employable age.

The Secretariat is located at Quamina and Thomas Street, Georgetown.

The objective of the association is to work with visually impaired persons who are of employable age, and one of the immediate programmes is to conduct computer training for them.

This is in an effort to provide those persons with computer literary skills, so that they can function effectively at their place of work, an official of the association said.

Apart from this, the training would enable them to communicate with the outside world via the internet, using a special software programme.

With the growing demands on the job market for persons who have computer skills, those who are currently employed and have been no longer able to function effectively due to becoming blind, GAVI will train them so that they could continue to function at their place of employment.

Minister of Education Dr. Henry Jeffrey who attended the ceremony, on behalf of the government presented a cheque of an undisclosed amount to the organisation, which will contribute to the training programme. And Guyanese renound musician Eddie Grant also presented three mini music systems to individual members of the association.

President of GAVI, Mr. Stanley Cooke in his remarks during the ceremony noted that visually impaired people continues to face societal deprivation and discrimination of all kinds.

One such example of deprivation is when visually impaired persons seek access to medical care they would usually have to adjust to arrangements that is never included in their formulation.

This treatment has resulted in many people experiencing the embarrassment of seeking treatment at government centres would rather stay at home if they do not have the money to pay for treatment at private medical institutions, he explained.

He said the secretariat will be looking at ways in the future to address some of the problems of discrimination blind people encounter.

The secretariat was established 18 months ago and has been organizers of activities to make the city of Georgetown safer for both the blind and those who have their sight.

One of the activities is the provision of covers for uncovered manhole around the city, which posed a threat of possible injury.

Cooke also announced that the secretariat would be embarking on a programme to provide 100 refuse bins which will be placed in the city to support the anti- litter campaign.