What is the power of sharing your personal story? Sometimes it's the power to entertain, inspire, and educate.
As an employee of CNIB, I get to experience stories from staff, volunteers, clients and supporters that inspire me on a regular basis. Here in Toronto, we have an activity center that is used to support people in learning daily living skills. One day I had lunch with a young man from Asia who was going through the program. He shared with me his personal story and talked about his experience as a child growing up with blindness and the gratitude he had for the amazing team at CNIB who was helping him learn how to become independent in his home and community. Hearing about the challenges he faced and the hope that he now had for his future brought me to tears.
My family and I had been planning a trip to China, and I talked with my parents about how we could use our trip to bring awareness to the needs of people with low vision and blindness while on our journey. My research found the Bethel organization in China which is a non-profit organization running 2 projects in China: The "Love is Blind Project" located in Beijing, and the "Project 555" which is a national initiative targeting the Chinese blind and orphan population www.bethelchina.org. During our trip we are visiting the Bethel Blind Orphanage in Beijing to take them much needed items such as food, clothing, medical and school needs. Thanks to the generous support of CNIB, we are also able to take them assistive devices such as canes and magnifiers.
There are 47 children at the orphanage and several staff member are participating in the initiative by writing notes to the children. A group of volunteers in Vancouver and our very own Mabel Wang are going to translate the notes into Chinese for the children. Staff at the orphanage are excited to share stories with the children about people from CNIB and for them to learn about different people around the world. Please check back for updates on activities from the trip.
A special thanks to Paul Ting who has put me in touch with a team in Beijing to bring some media attention to the orphanages work in China, Ximena Correa who is working with me and AMI (Accessible Media Inc.) for national media coverage, and Danielle Suter who is helping arrange some local coverage in British Columbia.
What's in the power of sharing your personal story? Sometimes it can help change the world.