Saturday, October 14, 2006

Charity for the visually impaired gets a royal visitor

THE Duke of Gloucester helped a local charity celebrate its 85th birthday on Tuesday.
The Middlesex Association for the Blind (MAB) welcomed the royal visitor and other esteemed guests for a guided tour and demonstrations of technology which helps visually impaired people live independently.

Set up in 1922, the MAB has helped thousands of people and now operates in nine London boroughs, providing home visits, support and advice, IT training, Braille courses and more to people who can become isolated from mainstream society.

Fozeea Rajput, 26, of Clifton Road, Kenton, did not know what to expect when told her newborn baby, Zaynab, now five, was unlikely to see more than light and dark.

But after working closely with MAB and the Harrow Sensory and Communications Team (for the visually impaired) her daughter's confidence and ability has grown to allow her to recognise colours and has given both mother and daughter the chance to learn Braille.

Fozeea said: "It has been amazing, she has surprised everyone."

Zaynab and her brother, Junayd, eight, are pupils at Elm Grove School, in Kenmore Avenue, and the family have been helped enormously by the charity.

"We come to story telling so Zaynab can meet kids with similar problems. In her school she is the only one with visual impairment and to come to places like this she knows she is not the only one," the proud mum explained.

The centre in Raeburn House, in Northolt Road, South Harrow also has a resource centre, staffed by dedicated volunteers.

Selling items like talking clocks and microwaves and close circuit television which projects words onto a computer screen, visually impaired people quickly learn that the loss of sight does not necessarily mean the loss of a life they once loved and an important aspect of the centre is the interaction between clients and staff.

His Royal Highness ended the visit by saying: "Association is a long word but it means coming together to share expertise and problems.

"I congratulate this association for all that they have done and wish them the best of luck for the future."


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