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Jul 24, 2014

BCVI Formally Handed Keys to New Office Space

BCVI and the Lions have been in partnership for decades. Today, the official handing over of two projects that BCVI was able to secure through the local Belize Lions took place. The Lions Club International Foundation funded a first project and the other was by Sight First International. Duane Moody was present for the event that featured a tour of the spanking extensions to the building. Here is the report.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Today, the Belize Council for the Visually Impaired was officially handed over a two-storey addition to the building where its offices are held by Lions Club Belize. The Belize Lions Club and BCVI submitted a Sight First Proposal to the Lions Club International Foundation for a grant for infrastructure development with respect to the National Eye Clinic in Belize City. The grant was approved and the media along with representatives from both organizations were given a tour of the new facilities.

 

Melissa Shagoury

Melissa Shagoury, President, Belize City Lions Club

“It’s a building that belongs to Belize City Lions Club and we in conjunction got funding to do the expansion and to get some equipment for BCVI through Lions International.”

 

Duane Moody

“Why was it necessary for you guys to be a part of this and give this organization such valuable donation?”

 

Melissa Shagoury

“BCVI and Lions are both into eye sight preservation and we work together as a team; proof to that is that BCVI is home in our building and usually when we have any donations granted such as eyeglasses and frames, some portion would go to BCVI. They have a lot of people coming in and out and they needed the space and the equipment that they are getting is up to date technology because we are in the same eye-preservation interest.”

 

Carla Ayres Musa

Carla Ayres Musa, Deputy Director, BCVI

“Where we are standing right now used to be outdoors. Our patients used to get wet in the rain, hot in the sun and now we are able to accommodate them in this beautiful waiting space. Our patient flow is better now because our optometrist has his own area and our specialist has his own area. We also have additional space upstairs for our IT department.”

 

The handing over comes simultaneously with the launch of a diabetic screening and treatment project that will assist with reducing blindness due to diabetic retinopathy. This project was funded by Lions Sight First.

 

Carla Ayres Musa

“For the Sight First Project, we have received along with the three portable Fundus cameras; we have gotten an ophthalmic unit, we’ve gotten lasers, we’ve gotten tenometers, indirect ophthalmoscopes. So all of these devices and pieces of equipment are going to be instrumental in both the screening and the treatment program for the diabetic retinopathy project.  We are using Fundus cameras that are set up throughout the country: Belize Stann Creek and Orange Walk and we are screening people who are diagnosed with diabetes and we are screening them for diabetic retinopathy.”

 

The total cost of the project is to the tune of three hundred and fifty thousand US dollars. But according to Deputy Director at BCVI, Carla Ayres Musa, the non-profit organization is facing several challenges.

 

Carla Ayres Musa

“I think for any non-profit, funding is our main challenge and we were very lucky to have started out through Sight Savers International and this is their last year of funding. And they have been phasing out slowly so each year, it has become very important and on the top of our agenda to ensure that we can continue providing the services that we are providing. Thankfully, we have been set up to provide a service to people who can’t afford it, but also provide very high quality things so that people who can afford to pay something are paying something. And it is through those fees for services that we’ve been able to remain somewhat sustainable.”

 

BCVI, over the years, has developed primary eye care in Belize, carrying out eye operations as well as a rehabilitation program for people who are irreversibly blind. Duane Moody for News Five.

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