Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 15th 2014 Contents text messages on BBM, What-
sApp, make free calls with mag-
icJack and Viber, and navigate my
surrounding with Waze and
BlindSquare, read the news locally,
regionally and internationally.
My computer at the office has
a software on it called Jaws (Job
access with speech). I could scan
printed letters and it is converted
to text by the system called optical
character recognition (OCR). I
can read and send messages, and
before my secretary comes to
work, I will e-mail her things to
be done from either home, on
the road from my phone or from
my desktop computer.
We are working with all major
banks to install the necessary TTS
software at their ATMs so that
people who are blind could access
their finances when the banks are
What is the biggest need/pri-
ority of the TTBWA and how
can people help?
We need more money so that
we could purchase the required
aids so that blind people could
be equipped to function in a
Also, parents need to encourage
their children to learn how to give
service by volunteering from an
early age for the TTWBA.
The ongoing training and
retraining of our employees so
that they could improve the qual-
ity of service we offer to people
who are blind.
Working together with other
disability organisations to imple-
ment a national building code to
accommodate the disabled com-
munity is also up there on our
Tell us about your inspiration
to do the type of "work" you do.
I am not driven by money or
by selfish desires, but to structure
an organisation to deliver quality
service and opportunities for all
people who are blind. As they
say, a rising tide lifts all boats. If
the TTBWA becomes stronger,
then all people who are blind or
visually impaired will be better
for it and be able to contribute
to the building of our nation.
What are some of the chal-
lenges you face and how do you
deal with them?
My biggest challenge is over-
coming my fear of blindness.
Today, I am still trying to deal
with my condition and consider
myself as a student of blindness.
Living in a sighted-dominated
world as a blind person may have
setbacks, but it also gives me an
opportunity to become a symbol
of hope for those who are yet to
travel this road as a blind person.
Every time I achieve something
it brings me closer and closer in
overcoming this fear.
When people who are sighted
reach out to me and do not focus
on my blindness but on my abil-
ity, it helps to make life as a per-
son who is blind enjoyable.
What would you consider
your dream or ideal achieve-
My dream is to repay my mort-
gage and other loans by age 55.
Make my home, my most prized
possession, as comfortable as
possible so I could have my spe-
cial place for relaxation and com-
fort. All my life, I either lived on
an estate or by my grandmoth-
er. It feels great to own your own
home and I intend to make it my
castle, fit for a king.
At which schools/educational
institutions did you receive your
St Thomas RC, Mayaro; QRC;
School for the Blind, Santa Cruz;
Hadley School for the Blind, Illi-
nois, USA; other institutions for
computer literacy and other
courses; currently enrolled at
Costaatt pursuing the BSC in
human resource management.
What are your hobbies and
Listening to music, playing the
guitar and keyboard, swimming,
meeting people and writing songs.
What do you consider as your
My biggest achievement is
securing a permanent home for
the southern branch of the
TTBWA. The southern branch of
the association was housed in an
old rum bond on St Andrew s
Street, San Fernando, with limited
space and unsanitary conditions.
Of all your prizes and awards
which do you rate as extremely
Composing for Asha
Kamachee, the blind chutney
singer. When she was crowned
the Tuco chutney monarch with
one of my compositions, I felt
proud that we broke the bogey
that stood in her way of winning
What advice would you give
to the young people of T&T?
Know what you want and
ensure it wants you. Get advice
from the professional on how to
achieve it. Formulate a plan. Keep
monitoring your plan to ensure
you are on target to attain your
What goals and/or ambitions
do you still have?
My main goal is to close the
gap between the blind and sighted
and, as Martin Luther King
wished, for all of us to walk hand
in hand as brothers and sisters,
as children of God in an ever-
changing world where buildings,
cities, and the natural environ-
ment could be made accessible
for people who are disabled to
enjoy the beautiful things this
land has to offer its citizens.
Anything else about you that
you d like our readers to know?
I could still enjoy a cold drink
and light conversation with
friends and family, go swimming
at Maracas, and have a shark and
bake. Will never get fed up of
doubles. I think it is our national
If you had an opportunity to
meet anyone in the world, who
would it be?
I would love to meet Brian Lara.
The reason is that whenever peo-
ple criticised him, he did not
respond in words but with the
bat. In that way, he silenced the
critics, leaving them with their
mouths open...I admired that.
Who was your hero growing
up, outside of your family?
Deonarine Ragoo stands out as
my hero. Even though he had a
little, he gained a lot. With very
little education he became a suc-
cessful businessman and the first
blind person to contest and win
a local government election.
If I ever had any doubts that
sighted people would not support
a blind person, the result of that
election changed my mind. Once
you have something good, the
world will beat a path to your
He is also a successful parent
and was able to give his children
an education he never had. He
always said, "This race to improve
the lives of people who are blind
is not for the swiftest but for
those who have endurance."
What daily motto/credo do
you live by...your recipe for suc-
Focus on the work and the
fruits will come.
Upcoming events and contact
Documentary video on the his-
tory of the TTBWA by GISL,
school reunion for people who
attended the School for Blind
Children, walkathon and health
fair in Tobago to highlight the
services the TTBWA has been
providing for the past 100 years,
bingo and domino tournaments,
boat cruise to raise funds to pro-
vide canes for people who are
blind, charity dinner, national
award ceremony to honour peo-
ple, both blind and sighted, who
contributed to work for the blind.
I can be contacted via Facebook
and e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Describe yourself basically in
two words, one beginning with
K, the other with S---your ini-
Keen on success.
June 15, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
CONTINUES FROM PAGE B1
How do you communicate, what
communication tools do you use in
today s technological world?
To access my computer I use soft-
ware that converts the text on the
screen to synthesised speech. This
technology is called text--to-speech
(TTS) software. Since Apple started
building TTS in their products, a lot
of other companies followed them
because they realised that blind people
also have money to spend, too!
I have an Apple iPhone where I
could have access to my contacts, send
Agent of change in the world of the blind
I am not driven by money,
neither by selfish desires, but
to structure an organisation to
deliver quality service and
opportunities for all people
who are blind.
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