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Empowering the Visually Impaired: My YLAI Impact Grant Journey

Marlon and Asenath at the launch of the Blind Way Forward
Alicia Small and Marlon Parieaho having a conversation

I am thrilled to share my experiences and the impact of my YLAI (Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative) Impact Grant project, aimed at empowering individuals who are currently losing their vision to become independent and productive members of society. Through the Blind Way Forward workshops, we sought to provide support to persons with visual impairments and their families. This blog post will take you through the main project activities and the transformative outcomes achieved.

  1. Online and In-person Training Workshops: One of the core activities of the project involved organizing and conducting training workshops both online and in-person. These workshops focused on several key areas:

a) Accessible ICTs: We educated participants about the latest accessible Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) available to them. By showcasing how these technologies can be incorporated into their daily lives, we aimed to enhance their independence and improve their overall quality of life.

b) Emotional Support: Recognizing the emotional challenges faced by individuals with visual impairments, we dedicated a segment of the workshops to educate participants about the various emotional stages they may go through. By providing this knowledge, we aimed to support their psychological well-being and help them navigate these stages with resilience.

  1. Blind Way Forward Support Website: To extend our support beyond the workshops, we provided access to the Blind Way Forward support website. This platform offered self-paced, on-demand guidance to visually impaired individuals and their families. It served as a comprehensive resource hub, equipping them with the necessary tools and information to thrive in their daily lives.

  2. Outcome Evaluation: As part of our commitment to monitoring the project's impact, we prepared a detailed report that captured the training's aims, content, and outcomes. We carefully documented the views expressed by participants, allowing us to assess the effectiveness of the workshops and identify areas for improvement. This evaluation process was crucial in ensuring the ongoing success and relevance of the project.

Conclusion: Through the YLAI Impact Grant, I had the opportunity to make a tangible difference in the lives of individuals with visual impairments and their families. By empowering them with knowledge, skills, and access to resources, we were able to foster independence, productivity, and emotional well-being. The impact of this project extends beyond the workshops, with the Blind Way Forward support website continuing to provide ongoing support and guidance.

I am immensely grateful for the YLAI program and the support received throughout this journey. It has been a rewarding experience, witnessing the transformative outcomes achieved by empowering visually impaired individuals to overcome challenges and embrace a brighter future.

Join us in our mission to create a world where everyone, regardless of visual impairment, can thrive and be valued members of society. Together, we can pave the Blind Way Forward.

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