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May 23, 2013

Visually impaired youth to swim the blue hole

Rowan Garel

In March 2011, Rowan Garel became the first visually impaired person to make it to the summit of Victoria Peak.  It was an exhausting two-day climb that challenged the twelve year old’s physical endurance.  Rowan’s body was pushed to its capacity and despite the extreme trial he overcame that challenge.  A year later, he took on the ninety-two mile Walk Across Belize and completed the lengthy journey.  This year, the second form student is set to take on the Great Blue Hole.  As with all his previous outdoor adventures, diving the submarine sinkhole will also be a first for any blind person.  The daring feat, however, has more to do with fundraising than it has to do with personal accomplishments, Rowan tells us more.


Rowan Garel, Visually Impaired

“My motivation is not, “Oh you’re Rowan, you climbed Victoria Peak, you walked across Belize.”  I’m not interested in that.  What I’m interested in is raising funds and awareness for the only program in Belize that deals with blind or visually impaired people and they have a rehab program which is completely free of cost.  Take that away and all the blind people, like myself, will just be behind with everything, there would be no one there to help them along and that is what motivates me.”


Carla Ayres Musa

Carla Ayres Musa, Belize Council for the Visually Impaired

“Rowan, as everybody knows, has never really let us down with his ideas in terms of fundraising and raising awareness for people who are blind and this year he and his family wanted to do something totally different.  And just as with Victoria Peak, he was the first blind person to reach the top of Victoria, he will be the first blind person to dive the Blue Hole.  So we’re very excited, we’re actually going to be taking more of an active role this year.  I told him that I would dive with him if he did the dive, so BCVI has a like an actual representative doing it.  We were also part of the Walk Across Belize as well but didn’t take on the Victoria Peak challenge so we’re trying to become more involved in his challenges with him and be more of a support for him.”


Rowan Garel

“We were talking as a family, this is how these things come about, and my dad and I just thought of doing the Blue Hole because that would be something really good, both for me and for raising awareness because that would really send the message that blind or visually impaired people can do anything that normal sighted people can.”


“Rowan, Dives the Blue Hole” is set for mid-July and in the meantime, Rowan is preparing for perhaps the most challenging adventure. 

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3 Responses for “Visually impaired youth to swim the blue hole”

  1. impartial says:

    A great Belizean… politicians see an example to follow

  2. Mad says:

    I praise this young lad. Current politicians should learn from him. Great job Rowan!!!

  3. Storm says:

    He’s an inspiring young leader, and he is working in a necessary and worthy cause. I hope he raises plenty!

    He stands like a giant, compared with the moral midgets who hold office in Belmopan.

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