Yesterday Claire and Aisha went to Leeds for the Association of Blind Asians (ABA) Conference called ‘Double jeopardy- Dealing with Visual impairments amongst South Asians in the UK.’
It was a really interesting day out to reflect on the work KVIN does and to compare that with other organisations.
ABA work in a very similar way to KVIN in some regards, they want to help people with sight loss overcome isolation and work with people individually to meet their needs in a way they need their needs to be met. The differences are that ABA organise activities for their service users such as lunch groups and KVIN provides peer support drop-in sessions but they have a similar effect of getting people out and meeting people.
It was interesting to hear that in the South Asian community people are up to 6 times more likely to have type 2 diabetes which can affect peoples eyesight through Diabetic Retinpoathy.
ABA discussed the barriers that someone South Asian community faces when they loose their sight to access services and groups. ABA staff all speak a variety of languages to break down language barriers and this could be something that we look at filling the gap if needed through volunteers who can speak different languages. There is also stigma within communities around sight loss and these can vary from area to area and between different communities, its important for us to think about thses barriers to make sure that KVIN is welcoming to as many different people as possible and to challenge the stigma or stereotypes in the community.
Aisha said of the day;
‘Attending the ABA conference gave me a really good opportunity to understand the invaluable support the charity provides to members of the Asian community suffering with sight loss and their carers. The culturally sensitive support it offers include practical help like filling out benefit forms and a translation service as well as activities like a luncheon club, all of which contribute in reducing the impact of isolation which often goes hand-in-hand with sight loss. It was also very useful to find out about the good work carried out by other charities around the country including the challenges they may face as well as their ideas on how to move their charities forward.’
We heard from lots of different speakers such as Stephen Gould from the Big Lottery Fund who have funded ABA and fund KVIN, Ellie Southwood who is chair of RNIB who spoke about their work and ares of development.
Healthwatch Leeds shared an interesting video that they have recently made. The video highlights some of the findings and recommendations found in a report on people with visual impairments’ experiences of accessing health and care services in Leeds. This video features two visually impaired people demonstrating the challenges they face in their daily life.
Thank you to Association of Blind Asians for organising an interesting day, we have benefited from learning about their work and the work of other people.