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Jul 27, 2017

36 Years of Success for B.C.V.I.

Approximately one thousand, three hundred persons countrywide have conditions that may lead to visual impairment, whether total or partial. The top causes are removable cataracts, irreversible glaucoma, or diabetic retinopathy caused by complications of diabetes. There are many others who live with their condition alone. But the Belize Council for the Visually Impaired has reached out nationwide over its thirty-six years of existence, and managed to make Belize more tolerant of the visually impaired and eventually even welcoming. Behind the exploits of Rowan Garel and Donovan Reneau is an organization fighting the good fight for its many clients. Their annual general meeting was held in Belize City today and we hear more from Executive Director Carla Ayres Musa.

 

Carla Ayres Musa

Carla Ayres Musa, Executive Director, B.C.V.I.

“We’re very excited to share every year the work that B.C.V.I. does. I think a lot of people remember snippets of what we do, so if we have Rowan [Garel] walking across the country or if we have our summer camp happening, people remember that, but they don’t always remember the work that B.C.V.I. does in a comprehensive way. This is a time of year that we can highlight what we do with primary eye care, which is eye exams and glasses; with secondary eye care which is surgeries and diagnosis of eye diseases, and with rehabilitation on a national level.”

 

Reporter

“Now in terms of the figures – I quickly glanced through the report and we are talking hundreds of clinics, thousands of persons examined; how does – because B.C.V.I. is a non-profit organization – how do you acquire funding and so on to have all of this work done?”

 

Carla Ayres Musa

“As you mentioned it’s been thirty-six years since B.C.V.I. has been around, so we started out with a lot of support from international partners and donors and funders, and we have been able to build our services up to a point where we are self-sustainable. So while we do offer free exams at our primary level, we have some fees for services available, for low-cost, high quality glasses, we also have assistance programs; we have a small twenty-dollar fee in our secondary eye care program; so we really work more on volume than on high prices. And our primary eye care program which is our largest area of expense is also our largest income earner; so when we are looking at the money that we are making off the sale of glasses, we are able to filter that into a program like our rehabilitation program which is offered absolutely free of cost for every single person who is blind throughout the country.”

 

Members of the executive board of B.C.V.I., a non-profit organization, were re-elected today as follows: honorary president William Fonseca; executive president Joan Musa; vice-president Donovan Reneau; treasurer Sheena Castillo; secretary Milagro Garel; legal advisor Dolores Balderamos Garcia; executive members Gina Fonseca, Kamela Palma and Alice Riveroll; and other board members Joe Garel, Jose Encalada, Sharon Pollack and Leonides Cuellar.

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