When you're blind, all you have to do is close your eyes. And there is nothing wrong with you, says Fiji Society for the Blind president Shaheen Asgar.

Mr Asgar made these comments in his address during the annual appeal launch at Kshatriya Hall in Suva on Wednesday night, sponsored by Auto Care and Supreme Fuel and supported by Vodafone Fiji.

The launch raised about $5000.

The $1 drive kicked off as well with cans labelled "Annual Blind Fundraising and We Need Your Support", which were distributed to about 300 primary and high schools in the Central/Eastern division.

"This is an annual fundraising for the year, and we normally fall short of $80-$100,000 a year to help our children who are blind and partially sighted," Mr Asgar said.

"So what we do is we fundraise to provide community support to go and look for students, we go to the island, settlements and outer islands."

There is only one school for the blind in Fiji, located at Vatuwaqa in Suva. The school's supporters usually go around the country looking for blind students to board or be trained at the school free.

"We get them, bring them over to the school for boarding if they're in primary school up to Year 8 and if they're not, then we train them, we train the parents and the community."

The society receives Government and international aid with assistance from NGOs, corporate organisations and major business houses.

One of the major sponsors Kalpesh Kumar Patel, managing director of Auto Care (Fiji) Ltd, said: "It's a benefit for the needy, the money that comes, we give it to the Fiji Society for the Blind."

"It's not gain, I'm just doing it from my heart," Mr Patel said, who according to Mr Asgar was the first to volunteer when the society was in need.


Source: http://www.fijitimes.com/