Jul 03, 2015 News
Volunteers, to most if not all Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), are crucial assets. One NGO that benefits from much needed volunteerism and has acknowledged this in recent days is the Guyana Society for the Blind.
“We don’t have a paid staff…we are supposed to have a paid staff but we don’t; it is all volunteers here,” said President of the Society, Mr Cecil Morris, during a recent interview with this publication.
Among the permanent volunteers at the Society is Ms Theresa Pemberton.
During a recent visit by Kaieteur News to the 44, High Street, Werk-en-Rust, Georgetown facility, a smiling Pemberton was seen eagerly “taking care of business.”
Volunteering at the Blind Society for her started about a decade ago.
Pemberton who describes herself as a “cricket fanatic” recalled that it all stemmed from her involvement in the local cricketing arena.
“I was very much involved in conventional cricket and through that, I was introduced to blind cricket in 2005, and since then I have never looked back,” Pemberton reflected.
According to her, she was inspired by the blind cricketers.
“I have seen them move from being furniture in their homes to advocates for blind cricket…and not only for blind persons here, but advocates for people with disabilities internationally. They just keep getting better and better.”
Pemberton anxiously related how she was further inspired when she saw the blind students pursuing studies in order to undertake the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC)-administered examinations.
The Blind Society has, for the past few years, facilitated CXC classes in the areas of English, Social Studies, Human and Social Biology, Office Administration and Principles of Business for blind and visually impaired students who sit the identical exams as their counterparts who have their sight.
“When you see things like that happening around you, all you want to do is give more and more.”
It is therefore Pemberton’s expressed hope that other members of the public and the Government, too, would “give to them as I give to them. I give my all because they make me proud and I know they can make Guyana proud if we give them the support they are looking for.”
But according to the President of the Society, “Ms Terry (Pemberton) is an exceptional person…” Morris emphasised this even as he noted that while a number of persons volunteer from time to time, not all of them are prepared for the task at hand.
For this reason he said that “we ask people when they come to volunteer…don’t come with an attitude. Don’t think that you know it. You come with an open heart and open mind to the kind of things that are happening in the Society so that you can ‘suck it up’ and understand what we are doing and what we are trying to achieve.”
He cautions volunteers desirous of working at the Society to “don’t come putting us in a category, because somehow or the other when you put us in a category, it is never going to be the category that we are in that you want to put us in.”
According to him, regardless of what plans are envisaged for the Society, it is imperative that “we be a part of the decision-making process when anything is happening for us….that is the only way we can get the best out of persons.” He reiterated that once volunteers have an open mind and are prepared to learn, then the Society will remain on an ever-evolving path.
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