WEST Indies cricketer Marlon Samuels, through The Marlon Samuels Foundation which was officially launched in 2013, has continued in his pledge to support Jamaica’s blind community by making a contribution of J$1.5M (US$11 700) to The Jamaica Society for the Blind to aid in the fulfilling of their mandate of promoting the welfare, education and employment of persons who are blind or visually impaired in Jamaica.
The donation was made at a press conference at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston yesterday, and was received by Executive Director of the Jamaica Society for the Blind, Ms Lola Marson.
Samuels also made a presentation of J$350 000 (US$2700) to a visually impaired student from Church Teachers College (CTC), 23-year-old Garfield Mitchell, who passed seven CXC subjects with Grade ones and twos. He had faced challenges with paying his tuition but is now a student at CTC pursuing his dream of becoming a teacher
Mitchell shared his ordeal with the Jamaica Star newspaper on April 10 and Samuels saw his story and reached out to his family.
Samuels has been supporting Jamaica’s blind community since 2013 after he suffered an eye injury while playing for the Melbourne Renegades in the Australian Big Bash Twenty20 tournament, which left him confined to his hotel room and unable to see for two weeks.
“Well, the urge for this is definitely two weeks of closing my left eye and not being able to see anything out of my right eye. It was total darkness, so I can imagine what they are going through for their entire life being like that,” said Samuels.
“So I will continue to do what I have done today as I know what it feels like to be without sight as I experienced those two traumatic weeks. If I can raise awareness for this cause, I would have achieved something for the community.
“Visual impairment has been a long-standing reality in the Jamaican society. JSB, through its service offerings and education, has really been doing a great job and I would recommend genuine investment in this organisation.”
JSB focuses on helping blind people to adjust to their condition, lead productive lives and encourage, through public education, better eye care among the sighted.
The JSB programmes and services include vision-testing, rehabilitation, instruction, and public education. The funds were raised through pledges made by friends of Marlon Samuels, including Cricket World Cup 2007 CEO Chris Dehring & Samuel’s PSL Team Owner, Javed Afridi.