Group ‘sees’ progress in building scholarship

DalSense hosts a local band to continue a scholarship for the visually impaired

Charles Lee, founder of DalSense at Dalhousie University, says he wants students to be active in helping those in need at the school. (Photo: Zeina Jreige)

A group of Dalhousie University students staged a concert last night to help fund a scholarship for visually impaired students.

DalSense, a Dalhousie Student Union society, partnered with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind and Grawood lounge to raise $200 at the event, bringing their total fundraising this semester to $1,100.

DalSense founder Charles Lee says the idea for the fundraiser came to mind after hearing about a friend back home in Korea who has albinism.

Albinism is a genetic disorder that affects pigments in hair, skin and vision.

Lee, now in his fourth year of university, has known Steve Kim since childhood.

Kim, while attending a high school in the United States, had to drop out because the school wasn’t willing to support or work around his vision impairment, Lee says.

Lee doesn’t want this to happen to students in our area who have this disability.

DalSense is donating the money to the Canadian Institute for the Blind and the institute will then create the scholarship that will be eligible to give to visually impaired students at Dalhousie.

But DalSense members say the scholarship isn’t specific to Dalhousie. It can be donated to any university in the Halifax Regional Municipality, and even high school students who plan on attending one of these schools.

“I like this [particular] fundraiser because we’re helping someone who’s our age. We don’t normally do that. It’s normally someone younger or older. That’s why we’re associated with [the Canadian Institute for the Blind]. They have more connections with visually impaired students.”

The band The Morning After kick-started the fundraiser. Forty people were in attendance.

The Grawood lounge in Dalhousie’s Student Union Building will be filled with active, ambitious students tonight. (Photo: Zeina Jreige)

DalSense was able get 100 tickets from the Grawood’s director of licensed operations, Greg Wright.

They sold the tickets for five dollars and they’re giving 100 per cent of the profits to the Canadian Institute for the Blind.

“Every bit [of money] counts,” says Lee.

Lee is comforted by the fact that students are running the fundraiser so they know that the money is in safe hands.

Syed Mohammad, a co-member of DalSense, says this is the second year The DalSense CNIB Scholarship for Students with Vision Loss has been in action.

The facts

The Canadian Institute for the Blind reported 65 per cent of visually impaired people are jobless.

The organization also says less than five per cent of books for the visually impaired are formatted in braille or have audio versions. And only 45 per cent of visually impaired teens graduate high school, as opposed to the 90 per cent who have standard eyesight.

The DalSense members say vision loss is a major issue and sometimes is forgotten because the headcount of those who are visually impaired is lower than other disabilities.

Lee wants students to know that these scholarships do exist and there are people who care.

DalSense has conducted many fundraisers, from bake sales to events like Pacifico Night. But this time, the group wanted to do something a little more upbeat – And what’s more upbeat than a concert filled with active students?

Dalhousie’s Student Union Building (Photo: Zeina Jreige)

“Normal fundraisers involving aspects such as guest speakers or simple donations require that individuals care about the cause, and actually want to know more,” says Mohammad. “On the other hand, many people may attend an event involving music regardless if they care or even know about the cause.”

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The team has high hopes to fundraise $5,000 throughout the year, since last year they raised nearly $1,500.

 

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