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We Support Outstanding Blind Scholars!

The Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC) congratulates the following four outstanding Canadians, the 2007 annual Scholarship Programme award winners, for their academic achievements and ability to challenge hardship:

Picture of Christine

Christine Nieder, of New Westminster, BC, is the recipient of the Campbell River Lions Club of British Columbia Scholarship. In her late 20s, she is a recent graduate from the Classroom & Community Support Program from Douglas College and is now pursuing a degree in Community Rehabilitation. She is also working on her Behavioural Interventionist citation in order to work with young children with autism. She is actively involved in campus life as a re-elected representative member of the Douglas Students' Union and as a volunteer with the student ambassador program.

Christine, who is legally blind from coloboma and also has a significant hearing impairment, loves working within the post-secondary system and would like to work as a transition counsellor for people with disabilities going from high school to college. After completing the degree in 2010, Christine plans to do some travelling, perhaps work overseas for a year or two, and gain knowledge and experience that can't ever be taught in a classroom.

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Chima Andrew Akomas, of Vancouver, British Columbia, receives the Business, Education and Technology Scholarship. He is a 23-year-old who was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, but raised in Nigeria, where his family resides. In 2003, he returned to Canada to pursue his educational and career goals, and is currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Commerce program at the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business.

Chima, who has been totally blind for the last couple of years, has Marfan syndrome, a connective tissue disorder that has resulted in numerous retinal detachments, scoliosis and restrictive lung disease. He would like to return to Nigeria to establish a world-class school for the blind and related services, and believes that his business education and work experience, coupled with his first-hand knowledge of vision loss, will help him achieve this goal.

Natalie Martiniello, of Montreal, Quebec, is the winner of the Alan H. Neville Memorial Scholarship. Blind from birth due to glaucoma and having neurofibromatosis that has required numerous surgeries and chemotherapy, she is a student at McGill University in the first year of her studies, planning to graduate with a Bachelor in social work and a minor in educational psychology.

Upon completion of her undergraduate degree, she hopes to obtain her Masters in rehabilitation teaching from the University of Montreal. She is interested in issues related to literacy and job readiness skills among persons who are blind, and in assisting those with vision loss to realize their full potential.

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Deborah Adams, of Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia, is the recipient of the AEBC National Achievement Scholarship. Currently in her 40s, she is originally from Newfoundland and is enrolled at Mount St. Vincent University, Halifax, in the Political Studies Bachelors program. She became legally blind from retinitis pigmentosa in her 20s, which ended a successful career in the Canadian Forces. She has now turned her attention to education and hopes one day to work in the field of public policy.

Says Richard Quan, Chair of AEBC's Scholarship Committee, "I am very excited to report that there are many extremely qualified candidates who submitted applications this year, which is a truly positive statement on the achievements of legally blind students in Canada."

Each year, the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians provides a minimum of three $1500 scholarships to assist outstanding Canadian students who are blind, deaf-blind or partially sighted in continuing in their field of study. Applicants must provide personal letters describing how they have overcome barriers to education and how they have contributed to their community, as well as their academic achievements. Recommendation letters cite their determination to succeed and the value they place on education.

The deadline for the 2008 awards is October 15, 2008, and the documentation and application are already on our website: Alternatively, you can request an electronic copy via email at or by phone at 800-561-4774. All questions regarding the 2008 awards should be directed to the Scholarship Committee via email at or by leaving a message at the phone number above.

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