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Photo of hands on top of one another.  Working together works! Throughout the years, many members have benefitted from participating in one or more of AEBC’s programs, which is a vital component to establishing friendships among peers, confidence building, thus fostering a sense of accomplishment towards becoming self-assured advocates advancing equality and inclusion for all Canadians. To give you a bird’s eye view into the advantages and rewards to be gained by supporting our organization, please take a few moments to meet Minette Samaroo from Toronto, as she shares her experiences and thoughts related to the journey she embarked on to effect positive changes for a more fulfilling life.

I was born in Guyana, South America and I migrated to Canada in September 2014 along with my two siblings. After a long and arduous road designed to satisfy compliance requirements to entre Canada and as adults, we were finally reunited with our mother. As a result of an incurable eye condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa, I have lived with vision loss most of my life with light perception only since my teens. This would be the case for my brother and sister as well.

As a new comer to Canada, I hoped to find opportunities to help me experience independence while searching for ways to be included in a society where negative attitudinal barriers have become very much the norm in the public eye. My siblings and I were eventually introduced to a group of like-minded people who immigrated to Canada in search of a better life for persons with disabilities. Although this was a great comfort to us, I continued to struggle to find the best fit to take my rightful place in society.

I realized that to be successful in finding employment, socialize with my peers and be able to communicate at a more comfortable level, I would have to find an organization with a mandate to empower its members to utilize tools available to advocate for themselves. The Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians offered the opportunities I needed if I were to thrive and take charge of my own destiny.

It is a fact that persons who are blind, deafblind and partially sighted in Canada are noted to be the most underemployed among those looking for work or those wishing they had the qualifications to find gainful employment. To begin my journey, I set out to improve my language skills, which later would assist in upgrading my education and become more employable, as well as be better positioned to take an active part as a volunteer in my community. In 2017, I began offering my time to AEBC as someone who was quiet, timid and very shy, enabling me to cultivate new friendships, while taking part of the support network which became invaluable as a resource to build confidence.

I took an interest as a participant in a project offered by the Toronto chapter; the Disability Advantage Program – a Training Program for employers highlighting the benefits of hiring and working with persons with disabilities. It wasn’t long before I agreed to take a more active role in AEBC’s Toronto Chapter, where I was persuaded to eventually become their president. I have learned so much in a short period of time, acquiring the necessary skills allowing me to operate out of my comfort zone to help others.

In 2019,I assumed the role of project lead to complete the three year contract awarded by the City of Toronto for the above-noted project. In collaboration with other Chapter Executive members, I continued to proudly lead additional projects related to employment carefully crafted to bring positive results by educating employers on the impact of barriers faced by persons with disabilities . With AEBC’s encouragement to get involved in programs designed to positively address barriers causing inequality, I learned to assert my rights as a blind woman, acquired knowledge and experience to advocate for those who need the support to overcome challenges and am now empowered to speak to you with the belief that I have achieved a sense of self-worth not recognize in the past.

Taking full advantage of what AEBC had to offer, this year I was one of the recipient of a $1,000 scholarship towards my studies. This will help me to offset expenses as I pursue a BA in Psychology at York University. My sincere thanks go to AEBC leaders as I credit them wholeheartedly for having the vision to offer members the opportunity to learn as much or little as they wish, in order to find and maintain independence, feel included in our respective communities and speak on our own behalf when appropriate in the hopes that our future will not be burdened by systemic barriers.

My other accomplishments during the last few years include but are not limited to: Designing and delivering consultations and workshops on meaningful employment, accessible education, housing and customer service, Project Lead for The COVID-19 Relief, with a goal to dismantle stigma and biases faced by persons who are blind; I work as an Accessibility Tester for Fable Tech and am an Assistive Technology Instructor Apprentice for Balance for Blind Adults in Ontario. In addition, I serve as co-chair for The Accessible Housing Network and as a committee member of the Assistive Devices Program in Toronto. Recently, I vacated my position as AEBC’s First-Vice President, which will allow me more time to devote to my studies as well as to manage my part-time employment as a Sales Specialist with Apple at Sherway Gardens in Toronto. In my spare time, I enjoy reading audio books and I knit and crochet as well.

I even have a dream that one day I could perhaps be involved in a drama type production; the closest I have come so far, was to land a non-speaking part in a movie as a court stenographer. ”Baby steps for everything right?” My life is very full, I strive to be the best that I can be, by focussing on my abilities rather than on my limitations caused by my disability. “My ultimate goal is to remove inequality, discrimination, and injustice in order to make this world a better place for each of us.”

If you choose to donate to The Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians, remember that the individuals you will potentially be helping will be most grateful for your gift. We will be sure to keep you informed as to the progress our organization makes with regards to additional programs we may be in a position to offer, depending on the level of support we receive from you. We thank you for stopping by to hear what we have to say and we hope you have a better understanding of who we are and what we do which can become so valuable to someone who is blind, deafblind or partially sighted.

The AEBC is a registered, non-profit charitable organization pursuant to the Canadian Income Tax Act (#895648335RR0001). As such, when you make a donation to the AEBC, you have the option of receiving an official donation tax receipt which you can use to deduct that donation from your income tax. For more information on charities, giving, and income tax, please refer to CRA's "Information For Donors".

Ways to Donate

We offer a number of donation options, so that you may use the one that you are most comfortable with. These include:

  1. Donating online (with your credit card) through CanadaHelps, which provides safe and secure online donation processing for charities across Canada. When you donate through CanadaHelps, they will automatically issue you an electronic (e-mail) tax receipt which you can print, keep with your records, and use for income tax purposes at the end of the year. CanadaHelps can process single, one-time donations as well as monthly, recurring contributions. Donate now through CanadaHelps!
  2. Donating online from your bank, by sending an Interac E-mail Money Transfer (contact us for details).
  3. Donating offline (with your VISA or MasterCard credit card) by calling us at 1-800-561-4774. You will receive a tax receipt in the mail.

We do not rent, sell, or otherwise share our donor lists with anyone. Your privacy is assured.

You can also donate Aeroplan miles or buy gift cards through the FundScrip program to support AEBC!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How does the AEBC raise funds? We raise funds through a wide variety of channels. Please refer to our list of fundraising initiatives for a complete list.
  • Someone came to my door collecting donations. Are they legit? The AEBC does not currently undertake any door-to-door fundraising activities.  See door-to-door fundraising initiatives to learn more about our activities, and how you can protect yourself from fraud.
  • I have a donation receipt, but it says it isn't an official one. How do I get an official receipt? Learn about our temporary receipting procedure, and what you need to do to get an official receipt for income tax purposes.
  • Can I donate money to a particular chapter? Yes. Just let us know, when you donate, that your donation is intended for a particular local chapter, and we will forward it along.
  • I run a business and would like to support the AEBC. What can I do? Tax receipting for business donations is more complex than for donations from individuals. We suggest you speak with your accountant to determine the best course of action. We have prepared some general information about business donations to get you started.