Mercy Mounthawk Students Raise Awareness Of Blindness

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Fourth Year students of Mercy Secondary School MountHawk with their teacher Ann O’Shea Daly. Photo by Lisa O’Mahony.

FIVE students of Mercy Secondary School Mounthawk walked around blindfolded yesterday to raise awareness of blindness in the school and the daily challenges people with visual impairment face.

The five students – Alex Kelly, Sadbh Griffin, Mary O’Connell, Rachel O’Regan and Heidi Crean – were blindfolded for the day, guided by their helpers – Aimee Byrne, Laurie O’Shea Murphy, Lorraine Lyne, Dakota Carter O’Flynn and Katie-Anne Harris – so that they get a better understanding of the difficulties faced for those without their sight.

Teacher Ann O’Shea Daly became aware of the problem of blindness in Burkino Faso, in Africa last summer.

A friend of hers, Fr Zacharie, told her that his father was blind due to cataracts for several years. His grandchildren would lead him out of the hut in the morning to a tree where people from the surrounding villages would come to chat to him throughout the day. Now, with an easy operation, he has his sight back and has seen his grandchildren for the first time.

Ann gave the five girls a 21 day challenge. Initially, the aim was raise funds for operations to provide sight for five women in the village.

However, after reaching that target early, they decided to extend this and are now aiming to provide the operation for two other men in the village.

The challenge really gave the girls an insight into what life could be like if they were blind. “I feel paranoid the whole time. Like everyone is laughing at me or pointing at me, and we only have to do it for a day. They have to do it every single day,” said one of the girls participating.

They have raised €2199.90 so far, through bake sales, coffee mornings and donations and need just €250 more to reach their goal.

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