Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 27th 2013 Contents B7
Thursday, June 27, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
"I wanted my independence, I don t
want to depend on anyone to make break-
fast for me."
Vishad Paryag, 18, was beaming with
pride when he graduated from a 12-week-
long cooking class designed for the blind
and visually impaired. Paryag lost his vision
when he was eight, and has since fought
to be self-sufficient.
"Independence and self-esteem go
together, because with my independence I
know I can achieve a lot of things. That s
what this class really taught me."
The south branch of the T&T Blind Wel-
fare Association held a graduation ceremony
at the Young Women s Christian Association
(YWCA) in St Augustine for seven blind
students, who learned to cook nutritious
Deonarine Ragoo, manager of the asso-
ciation s south branch, said many blind peo-
ple across the country lived alone, and there-
fore needed to learn how to prepare meals
"The benefit of the programme is to give
blind people a sense of power and inde-
He asked graduates to recognise the
philosophies being taught beyond the cook-
"This programme was strategically cal-
culated to empower and promote self-
reliance, independence, dignity and self-
Ragoo said there was a thrust to move
away from the stigma of dependency and
develop a society that was more integrated.
"Blind and visually impaired persons can
Padmini Seecharan, welfare officer at the
association, added that the "new chefs"
would now be able to save some money,
and not have to buy food every day.
"We hope that by the end of the year,
your bank books will be looking good with
In conjunction with the Caribbean Asso-
ciation of Home Economists, and a free
teaching space offered by the YWCA, tutor
chef Maureen Taylor-Ryan taught the first,
all-male class to make pelau, pizza, stewed
chicken, fresh salad, sandwiches and
desserts. She was very proud of her grad-
uating class, saying they were impressive
in the kitchen.
"It s a marvel how they can use their
hands to learn the equipment."
This was the association s sixth graduating
class, and so far 26 students have passed
through the course.
Five students were present for their grad-
uation ceremony and received certificates
of achievement: Mosi Andrews, Andre
Nicholas, Bobby Seebaran, David La Caille
and Paryag. Each got a chance to speak at
the ceremony, and they all expressed their gratitude
for the opportunity to become more independent.
Paryag joked that he was now properly prepared to
get married, should he meet the right girl.
La Caille, 53, said the feeling of not needing anyone
"Now I m able to do things on my own, I don t
have to depend on someone to get something to eat.
I m sure I m not going to starve anymore."
La Caille, who said his favourite dish was shepherd s
pie, joked that the hardest part about cooking was
baking, as he usually burned his hand. "I still love
Taylor-Ryan said baking was the hardest aspect
of cooking to teach and for the students to learn, as
people who are blind will have to adjust to their
stoves, and learn the baking knobs that control tem-
perature. When asked how they identified spices in
the kitchen, she said that s where their other senses
"They smell and feel the ingredients. They can
identify the shapes and smells and even tastes."
A potluck-style lunch followed the ceremony, as
each student had cooked a dish and brought it to
share with everyone.
Visually impaired chefs graduate
Graduates from the T&T Blind Welfare Association's cooking class show-off their new cooking aprons at a ceremony last Friday at the YWCA, St
Augustine. Chefs from second, left, Vishad "Anil" Paryag, David La Caille, Bobby Seebaran, Mosi Andrews and Adre Nicholas. Also in picture from
left, Padmini Seecharan, welfare officer with the T&T Blind Welfare Association Maureen and Taylor-Ryan, tutor chef from the Caribbean
Association of Home Economists. PHOTO: KHARA PERSAD
Independence and self-esteem go
together, because with my
independence I know I can achieve a
lot of things. That's what this class
really taught me.
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