The North Bend Eagle


 

Morse Bluff woman improving lives of visualy impaired in third world

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 10/2/13

After a career of teaching the visually impaired in Fremont, Kim Adams is taking her skills global.

Adams has been a Morse Bluff resident, living in the Hidden Cove area with husband Michael Adams for the past 17 years. Her daughter is married to North Bend native Ryan Heywood.

Kind teaching the blindKim Adams of Morse Bluff works a partially blind nepalese woman on the proper technique to hold a white cane.

But her world is much larger than Morse Bluff or Fremont. She returned last month from a trip to the small Asian country of Nepal where she had been traveling with the Blind Corps organization.

Blind Corps was established by experienced volunteer professionals in the field of working with the blind as a non-profit in October of 2005. The purpose of the Corps is to address the rehabilitation needs of blind people in developing nations.

The nine members of Blind Corps all have some connection to Nebraska, most living in the state, but some claim Turkey or Nepal as their home country. All have a background in service to the blind.

Adams, 60, was a teacher with the blind and visually impaired in the Fremont Public School System for over 36 years. Since retiring in 2008, she has devoted time to Blind Corps, which she has been a part of since its inception.

The organization is made up of American rehabilitation professionals who share their expertise with people in developing nations interested in the advancement of the blind in those countries. Blind Crops works with the blind themselves, rehabilitation workers, support organizations of the blind, government agencies, and the friends and families of the blind to help blind people achieve economic, social and political equality by providing educational and technical support.

The group has been to Turkey three times, but this past summer it made its trip their first to Nepal. This was Adams’ third trip with the group.

They left July 20 for Nepal, a county slightly larger that Arkansas that is bordered by China on the north and India on the other three sides. It is most known as the site of eight of the ten largest mountains in the world, including Mt. Everest. Adams said her sight seeing consisted only of flying over Mt. Everest.

Despite a population of 27 million people, Nepal has just one school serving the blind. The blind population is of a greater percentage then in the United States, something Adams says is a result of overall poor conditions, lack of cleanliness, and inadequate nutrition.

Given that Nepal is an impoverished country, the poor blind have no opportunity to learn independent skills.

“We didn’t see any blind beggars,” Adams said, “but we saw the blind being led around.”

The Blind Corps group stayed in the capitol city, Kathmandu, with family members of one of their group. During the 21 days they were in Nepal, the Americans partnered with three organizations serving the blind: The Blind Woman’s Association of Nepal, The Blind Youth of Nepal and The Blind Support Association of Nepal. They shared with them their techniques for teaching the blind. Adams said the majority of the people they work with are visually impaired and in situations where they could pass on what they learned forward.

“We consider this a very successful training,” Adams said, “as some have already set up to train more, furthering the independence of blind people in Nepal.”

Word of the Blind Corps’ success has spread by word of mouth. The organization is already talking to people in Panama and Kyrgyzstan about sharing its skills in those countries.

Blind Corps is a private non-profit, an I.R.S. 501(c)(3) tax-exempt corporation. It isn’t looking for people to go on trips, as they already have the expertise necessary within their group of nine to work with the organizations in developing countries. What they need is financial support.

“We tell people that $22 will buy a long white cane to give a blind person independence,” Adams said. “Ten dollars will pay for a slate and stylus so that they can learn braille. Funds can also always be used for the trips.”

To see how to donate, visit www.blindcorps.org. More photos of their trip to Nepal can be found at www.facebook.com/blindcorps.

Back home in Morse Bluff, Adams said she is more appreciative of the small things in life. Electricity all day long. Clean drinking water. Refrigeration so that we can have fruit and meat. Adams said she even feels a little guilty having what others would call luxuries.

“Just having experiences of being in touch with the poor made all of us appreciate what we have in the United States,” Adams said. “Most of us are not aware of how other people live.”

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