The Minister of Sport, Olivia Grange is urging Jamaicans “to follow the lead” of Jamaica and West Indies cricketer Marlon Samuels whom she said was “bringing about meaningful change” for members of the disabled community.
The cricketer has been supporting and advocating for blind and visually impaired Jamaicans through his Marlon Samuels Foundation.
Minister Grange lauded Samuels Tuesday (April 18) at a cheque handing-over ceremony of the Marlon Samuels Foundation.
The Foundation presented a cheque valued at J$1.5M to the Jamaica Society for the Blind to assist with its operation. The Jamaica Society for the Blind helps blind and visually impaired people to adjust to their condition, lead productive lives and encourage better eye care.
Samuels also presented a cheque for J$350,000 to Garfield Mitchell, a visually impaired student, towards his tuition at Church Teachers’ College.
In commending Samuels for focussing on the needs of the blind and visually impaired in society, Minister Grange recalled the circumstances that led the batsman to take on his new role.
Minister Grange said: “While playing in the Australian Big Bash Twenty20 tournament in 2013, Marlon was hit by a ball from Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga through the grill of his helmet. The blow left Marlon partially blind.”
For two weeks he saw nothing but darkness. But it was during that time that he saw a new light and a new purpose: support and advocacy for the blind and the visually impaired. His eyes were opened to the needs of an often over-looked community.
“Marlon wasn’t thinking about visual impairment as the focus of his Foundation, but God was thinking about it and designing a path for him to bring about change. We must become more sensitive to the needs of our brothers and sisters with various physical and developmental challenges,” she said.
CAPTION: Above: – Sport Minister Olivia Grange (2nd right), former Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller (2nd left) and cricketer Marlon Samuels (centre) share a moment with recipients of contributions from the Marlon Samuels Foundation: Chairman of the Jamaica Society for the Blind, Damion McLean (left), Executive Director of the Jamaica Society for the Blind, Ms. Lola Marson (3rd right) and Garfield Mitchell (right).