Painting a picture for the blind to see
Prior to last week Antoine Munroe can’t recall having seen a flamingo in actuality or in print before losing his sight at age 10. Over the years he’s had to rely on what people told him the national bird of The Bahamas looks like. Now Munroe, 33, has been able to put a picture into his mind of what the flamingo looks like after getting the opportunity to paint an embossed image of one. For an afternoon, Munroe was allowed to see again.
“It was amazing,” said Munroe of the experience that was made possible for him and 20 members of the Disabled Persons Organization (DPO) by the Baha Mar Resort Foundation together with the Engage! 19 Foundation the luxury wedding business summit’s “Pack with a Purpose” program.
“When I could have seen, I remember some colors, but I could imagine that that painting [of the flamingo] was very, very beautiful. For me it was an experience words cannot describe,” said Munroe.
While he painted a flamingo, other members of DPO painted a picture of an embossed pineapple which they were able to feel; other members of the association who are visual were able to take in their stunning artwork.
“A lot of our members are still talking about the painting experience,” said Munroe days after.
It’s an experience, Munroe who is also president of DPO says many people with disabilities would want to be able to experience.
Outside of the textured prints and painting, the evening was also to include painting t-shirts as well in the collaborative experience.
“For me, it was an experience, words cannot describe. But I would say, it was just something that a lot of persons with disabilities would want to be a part of,” said Munroe. “One [member] said it was an experience better than one could ever imagine. Everyone was excited. One thing [I] didn’t get to do that we wanted to do, and I hope we could arrange to do that at some point, was the printing of designs on t-shirts, which our members were looking forward to doing, but nevertheless, I’m sure that Baha Mar would engage us in the future,” said Munroe.
The experience that took place in The Current, Baha Mar’s Gallery and Art Center was held together with Engage! 19’s “Pack with a Purpose” initiative through the newly formed Engage! Foundation which allowed attendees to leave a lasting impact by partnering with locally based charitable organizations to bring much needed supplies (a list was provided in advance) that would make the life of the disabled members easier.
They donated multiple Echo Dot 3rd Generation smart speakers, Bluetooth 40-watt speakers, MicroSD memory cards 32GB and power bank portable chargers; as well as talking watches to assist the blind with knowing the time, and other educational tools including a talking calculator, thermometers and smart clocks.
“Devices that persons with disabilities use are very expensive, and these items will go a long way in assisting persons with disabilities to perform daily tasks on the job and at home, including members who are studying,” said Munroe.
The DPO president thanked the Baha Mar Resort Foundation as well as Engage! 19’s “Pack with a Purpose” program which made it possible for the organization to be recipients of the much-needed devices that he said would impact the lives of not only their members, but by extension, people with disabilities around the country.
According to Vanessa Christie, Baha Mar’s director of public relations, the Baha Mar Resort Foundation is built on the three pillars of community, culture and conservation and reflects the property’s commitment to building a strong future for The Bahamas. Through volunteerism and monetary donations, it is the Foundation’s goal to champion sustainable conservation efforts, celebrate the diverse cultural traditions and artistic expressions of The Bahamas and strengthen the community through improvements in education.
DPO is a cross-disability organization – any person with a disability can be a part of the it. It was founded by Phillip Smith in May 1981 with its main mission to ensure that persons with disabilities were equipped with the necessary training and skills to take their rightful place in society.
Munroe took over the presidency in June 2018. He said it’s his vision to see members of his organization become their own employers. As such, DPO is working on a project that they will soon reveal which will allow people with disabilities to work and make their own money.
Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.