See the world through my eyes

Page 26 ++“See the world through my eyes”

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Page 26

++“See the world through my eyes”

++Simon Mboki
Hello, my name is Simon Mboki. The world through my eyes today is much different than it used to be. Beaten and tortured in Sudan during the Second Sudanese Civil War, I was blinded before I could escape persecution.
In 2004, my wife, four children and I came to Australia to rebuild our lives. With less than 10 per cent of my vision remaining, I thought it would be difficult to get a job, but with assistance from the RSB I was able to work again.
Today, I enjoy my job at the RSB Industrial Services factory. I cannot praise the RSB enough for everything they have done to help my family and myself. The work they do is life changing.
Image: RSB Industrial Services worker Simon assembling small parts in the RSB Industrial Services factory

Caption: RSB client Simon Mboki enjoys his job at RSB Industrial Services

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Image: Industrial Services Employee, Wayne Maulitz packs Coopers bottle tops for Coopers Home Brew Kits,

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++Digital Library & Print Alternative Services

Image: Corporate photo of Diana Swanson

The RSB Digital Library and Print Alternative Services provide a wide range of information and resources in accessible formats in order to better support South Australians who are blind or vision impaired.
Digital Library Service
In 2011/12, the RSB Digital Library Service (DLS) continued to work closely with South Australian public libraries to advocate for the provision of equitable and accessible library services.
The development of the DLS Public Library Tour focused on strategies libraries can utilise to accomplish these goals, such as the implementation of adaptive technology, revising information formats, sighted guide training and reviewing the library environment.
With a goal to educate future library staff, throughout 2011/12, the RSB DLS also worked with TAFE and UniSA Library and Information Studies students to raise awareness of accessible resources, facilities, adaptive technology and services.
In an RSB first, the 21 Talking Newspapers commenced the move to digital, beginning with The Talking Times in Victor Harbor in May 2012.
Public libraries across the state are assisting in the transition through the provision of space for recording, computers to duplicate, and/or services to distribute and promote the availability of the local Talking Newspaper to RSB clients.

Image: Close up of hand reading pages of Braille

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Image: Staff from Adelaide City Council participating in sighted guide training
To date, the RSB DLS system has been adopted by 15 public libraries across South Australia and the audiobook collection has increased to more than 7,000 titles, with further titles to be purchased over the next few years.
The establishment of the Digital Library Newsletter, Digital Library News, and a new audiobook club at the Noarlunga RSB office has enabled clients to be more actively involved with their reading, their local library and their communities.
The Noarlunga audiobook club is the most recent of many across the state, including clubs in the Burnside, Port Pirie, Port Lincoln and Victor Harbor libraries. Increasing public library involvement means further expansion is expected in the coming years.
Print Alternative Services
In 2011/12, more than 2,000 South Australians who are blind or vision impaired accessed Print Alternative Services for transcriptions into their formats of choice. This free RSB service is vital to ensure that people who are living with blindness or vision loss can maintain independence in their daily lives.
A testament to the RSB, during 2011/12 Print Alternative Services managed requests for nearly 15,300 pages of Braille and tactile diagrams, almost 950,000 large print pages, more than 7,500 pages of E-text issued on CD and 9,545 hours of audio requests.
The monthly production of large print crosswords continued with thanks to the volunteer services of the East Torrens Lions Club. In 2011/12, 1,550 copies of the large print crosswords are distributed nationally each month, free of charge to Australians who are blind or vision impaired.

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To meet increasing demand for Braille, an RSB Transcriber Adminstration Assistant has commenced the Braille for Educators Course administered by Renwick College in New South Wales. Upon completion of the 20 week course, the RSB will have an additional Braille transcriber which will greatly assist with the expansion of the service.

Accessible Information Service
The RSB’s Accessible Information transcription service is available to businesses, service providers, government departments, educational facilities, clubs, churches and community groups for a fee, to enable people who are blind or vision impaired to access information in their communities.
Thanks to advanced technology and highly skilled staff, nearly all print material can be transcribed into a format more suited to an individual’s requirements. In 2011/12, regular requests included newsletters, invitations, street maps, timetables, student texts and information, handbooks or instructions and more.
In 2011/12, 30 organisations across South Australia accessed this service, including Anglicare SA, Bedford Industries, TAFE SA, SA Ambulance, Adelaide Airport, the University of South Australia, Department of Infrastructure and Transport, Amnesty International and SA Health, to name a few.
Diana Swanson

Manager, Print Alternative Services
Image: Staff from Adelaide City Council Library experience different eye conditions using simulation glasses.

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++“See the world through my eyes”

++Rhonda Baker
Hi, I’m Rhonda Baker. Thanks to the RSB Digital Library Service, the world through my eyes is full of magic and mystery, as I immerse myself in audiobooks.
An avid reader, I had to make the change to audiobooks when I was diagnosed with Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma about 10 years ago. With no sight in my right eye and only a little in my left eye, I could no longer read for myself.
The Navigator provided to me by the RSB Digital Library Service has made such a difference to my life. I can’t leave home without a volunteer or family member but the Navigator allows me to listen to an audiobook and immerse myself in a story—it makes me feel less isolated, like life is worth living.
Now the Facilitator of the RSB Noarlunga Audiobook Club, the club members and I meet on the last Tuesday of every month to discuss the books we have read using our Navigators. I am happy and grateful for all the support I receive from the RSB Digital Library Service.
Image: Rhonda Baker sitting on her couch listening to her Navigator

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++RSB Human Resources and Volunteer Services

Image: Corporate photo of Sue Jeffreys

RSB Human Resources
The Royal Society for Blind employs approximately 90 full-time staff, 70 part-time staff and 25 casual staff. This includes more than 70 people with vision impairment and/or other disabilities employed at the RSB’s Industrial Services factory. Also, crucial to the RSB is the invaluable assistance from more than 900 volunteers, who assist staff and clients on a daily basis.
During 2011/12, police checks for all current staff and volunteers were updated as part of a new mandatory requirement of the Department of Community and Social Inclusion to ensure continued funding from the State Government. From 2012, police checks will continue to be updated on a regular basis.
The RSB Human Resources Department, Occupational Health and Safety Committee and the Board of Directors have also spent many hours in 2011/12 reviewing policies and procedures in preparation for new work health and safety regulations anticipated in January 2013.
RSB Volunteer Services
Without the support and generous time given by volunteers, the provision of many of RSB’s services would not be possible. Their invaluable efforts across all areas of the RSB are the equivalent of almost 80 full-time employees, which in monetary terms would equate to almost $3 million in salaries.
From providing transport to clients, assisting the RSB Guide Dog Service in raising and training future RSB Guide Dogs, assisting with the coordination of recreation and leisure group activities, to simply enjoying a cup of tea and a chat with socially isolated clients,

RSB volunteers are essential in ensuring clients can enjoy every day activities that many people may take for granted.

The RSB is most grateful to all volunteers dedicated to giving their time to assist South Australians who are blind or vision impaired.
Sue Jeffreys

Manager, Human Resources & Volunteer Services
Image: RSB volunteer assisting with the collection of coin donation units across the state

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++“See the world through my eyes”

++Margie and Eddie Jasper
Hello, we are Margie and Eddie Jasper and we have been volunteering for the RSB since 2008.
During our time as RSB volunteers, we’ve helped with the training and education of many RSB Guide Dog pups, including RSB Guide Dogs Georgia and Nina who have both graduated and are working with RSB clients.
It’s good to see the pups grow and learn. You fall in love with the pups, there’s no doubt about that, but we get a sense of achievement from puppy educating that most people might not get at work.
As RSB volunteer Puppy Educators, we have also had the opportunity to get involved with lots of RSB events, including the Royal Adelaide Show, Dark to Light Walk, Charlie’s Day and Tech Fest.
In our eyes, we get as much out of volunteering as the RSB Guide Dog Service gets from us. So get involved, volunteer for the RSB Guide Dog Service today!
Image: RSB Guide Dog Service volunteers Margie and Eddie with two of the E Pups

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++Marketing and Fundraising

Image: Corporate photo of Diana Swanson

In 2011/12, we introduced you to the world through Rachael Leahcar’s eyes with two new television commercials and an online and print campaign.
As an RSB Ambassador, Rachael is dedicated to promoting the RSB and the services we provide and has attended many RSB events in the last 12 months, including the 2011 Dark to Light Walk, the RSB Clipsal 500 Luncheon and International Guide Dog Day.
Rachael recently shot to fame on The Voice Australia, where she worked hard with her mentor, renowned singer Delta Goodrem to win third place. Since this time, Rachael has used her fame for good, spreading awareness about her eye condition and the services available to people with vision loss via the RSB.
Most importantly, Rachael has been a mentor to many Australians and people from all over the world who are blind or vision impaired, demonstrating that blindness doesn’t have to be a barrier to achieving your dreams.
Sharing Rachael’s vision to make a difference are RSB Ambassadors Erin Bell (Adelaide Thunderbirds and Australian Netball Diamonds), Kate Collins (Channel 9 Adelaide) Olivia Todd (All About Animals), as well as Bernie Vince and Taylor Walker (Adelaide Football Club) who continued their support for the RSB in 2011/2012.
Now in their second year, the RSB Ambassadors have had a busy 12 months promoting volunteering and educating the community about the RSB and the services we provide.
As respected leaders in their fields, the support of the RSB Ambassadors delivers invaluable messages to the wider community about the important work the RSB undertakes.
Their attendance at RSB events also assists us to generate new interests and reach new audiences, and in 2012, the RSB’s newest ambassador, co-host of kids TV show All About Animals, Olivia Todd, was fundamental in assisting us to reach younger supporters.
“As an Ambassador for the RSB, I hope to spread the word to other kids my age that vision loss doesn’t just happen to older people. You never know when something may go wrong with your vision, so it’s important to be aware and support the organisations that can help, like the RSB,” said 10 year old Olivia.
A special thank you to our RSB Ambassadors for their on-going dedication and support!

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RSB Ambassador Team 2011/2012
Image: Erin Bell holding blonde RSB Guide Dog pup

Erin Bell – Adelaide Thunderbirds and Australian Netball Diamonds

“I became an RSB Ambassador due to my own personal experience with vision impairment. I have worn glasses/contact lenses since I was 10 years old and would not have been able to pursue my sporting dreams without vision correction.”

Image: Kate Collins at RSB’s Badge Day with blonde RSB Guide Dog pup

Kate Collins – Channel 9

“It’s amazing how much we take our sight for granted, and if it’s taken away, how much help we need to live a normal life. Become an RSB Puppy Educator or consider sponsoring an RSB Guide Dog pup. It’s a practical and fun way to help people who are blind or vision impaired.”

Image: Rachael Leahcar holding blonde RSB Guide Dog pup

Rachael Leahcar – RSB Client and The Voice Australia Finalist

“I was born with Retinitis Pigmentosa and one day, I will be totally blind. This would be scary if not for the Royal Society for the Blind. As an ambassador for them, I hope I can do everything in my power to help others like myself live their lives to the fullest, like the RSB has helped me to do.”

Image: Olivia Todd next to black RSB Guide Dog pup

Olivia Todd – All About Animals TV Show

“I’m excited to be an Ambassador for the Royal Society for the Blind, especially the RSB Guide Dog Service. In my TV show, All About Animals, I meet lots of different people and animals all the time, but not many of them have the special task of helping someone who is blind or vision impaired.”

Image: Bernie Vince at RSB’s International Guide Dog Day celebrations holding blonde RSB Guide Dog pup

Bernie Vince – Adelaide Football Club

“I think it would be pretty disappointing if you had something wrong with your eyesight. You can’t do much without a guide dog, so I think the RSB is a good charity to get involved in and volunteer your time with.”

Image: Taylor Walker holding blonde RSB Guide Dog pup

Taylor Walker – Adelaide Football Club

“I love dogs, but I think an RSB Guide Dog is extra special because it can help someone who is blind or vision impaired in our community.”

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RSB Events
The RSB successfully hosts more than 10 events annually, with the aim to raise money to assist with the provision of RSB services.
The annual RSB Clipsal 500 Luncheon was once again held at the National Wine Centre, and remains the only charity luncheon where participants can get up close and personal with the elite Holden and Ford V8 Supercar drivers.
Singing superstars, Rachael Leahcar and Hayley Teal (The X-Factor) performed at the event, which was hosted by South Australian Journalist, Presenter and McClusky & Co Principal, Leigh McClusky.
The RSB joined in the annual world-wide celebrations for International Guide Dog Day, celebrated on the last Wednesday in April.
International Guide Dog Day provides a chance for the public to ask questions and find out more about the RSB Guide Dogs. It’s also an opportunity to acknowledge the mobility and independence a guide dog can bring to people who are blind or vision impaired.
In June, donors, supporters, friends and family of the RSB celebrated Charlie’s Day with the aim to raise $25,000 to cover the cost of training Charlie, and other RSB Guide Dogs like him.
Since the inaugural event launch in 2011, Charlie’s Day has become a great hit with supporters, who have assisted us to raise almost $62,000 for the RSB Guide Dogs.
In October, the RSB turned the streets of Adelaide purple, with the annual Dark to Light Walk. The walk is held on World Sight Day, and encourages supporters to each raise $60 to purchase a white cane for a South Australian who is blind or vision impaired.
In 2011, more than 150 people participated in the Dark to Light Walk, the largest number to date.
Student Ambassador Program
In its second year, the RSB Student Ambassador Program welcomed nine new participants on board.
As the name suggests, the Student Ambassador Program invites students from primary school age to university to get involved with fundraising and awareness and being active in their communities.
In 2011/12, students ran cupcake sales, held casual days and used RSB coin collection units to fundraise for the RSB, among other activities.
How can I help?

  • Attend events

  • Sponsor an RSB Guide Dog

  • Volunteer

  • Become an RSB Student Ambassador

  • Give regularly

  • Corporate sponsorship

  • Leave a bequest

  • Fundraise at your school or workplace

For further information, please visit or donate by calling 1800 644 577.
Diana Swanson

Manager, Marketing & Fundraising
Image: V8 Supercar drivers at the RSB Clipsal 500 Luncheon with an RSB Guide Dog

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Young Business Leaders SA
An initiative of the RSB and now in its 15th year, the in-business Young Business Leaders Program (YBL) helps young professionals to develop personally and professionally.
Launched in July 2011, the 2011/12 Program concluded on 29 June 2012 with a Presentation Ceremony, when the 2012 Young Business Leader of the Year was announced. The title was won by Susannah Stankiewicz, who developed and demonstrated strong leadership skills throughout the year.
Other award winners were Lina Kolomoitseva from Wallmans Lawyers (Achievement Award)

and the two fundraisers: Michael Wall of Outback Leisure Company and Lisa Cuculowskyj of City of Charles Sturt.

Many thanks to the sponsors of the YBL Program for their generous support, including: Australian Institute of Management, in-business Magazine, FIVEaa, Nova 919, Gold Network and Channel 9.
A special thank you to YBL Patron, The Hon. Jay Weatherill MP, The Hon. Patrick Conlon who attended the 2011/2012 presentation and Deputy Speaker Tony Piccolo MP who attended the 2012/2013 launch.
Image: Channel 9 logo

Image: Nova 919 logo

Image: FiveAA logo

Image: NAB logo

Image: Wallis Cinemas logo

Image: Foodland logo

Image: Charity Direct logo

Image: FAB logo

Image: YBL award winners Lisa Kolomoitseva, Susannah Stankiewicz, Lisa Cuculowskyj and Michael Wall.
Image: All YBL finalists for 2011/2012 standing on staircase with glass of champaign
Young Business Leaders SA 2011/2012 Finalists

  • Matt Adams DMG Radio

  • Lisa Cuculowskyj City of Charles Sturt

  • Lina Kolomoitseva Wallmans Lawyers

  • Benjamin Liew Benjamin Liew Photography

  • Tom Meertens Neale Realty

  • Amanda O’Toole Australian Medical Placements

  • Mark Perry Department for Families and Communities

  • Rebecca Robinson YHA Australia

  • Susannah Stankiewicz Schneider Electric Building Services

  • Nathan Tichy Sidek Manufacturing

Michael Wall Outback Leisure Company

  • Rachelle Werner Pinnacle Workplace Consultants

Image: YBL logo

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++“See the world through my eyes”

++Rachael Leahcar
Hi, my name’s Rachael Leahcar and I am an RSB Ambassador!
I’m here because like the RSB, I want to make a difference to the lives of South Australians who are blind or vision impaired—people who are just like me.
I was born with a degenerative eye condition called Retinits Pigmentosa (RP) and I am legally blind. An early symptom of RP is night blindness, followed by the loss of the outer areas of vision, progressing to tunnel vision (like looking through a pinhole) and often increasing to complete blindness over time.
In 2012 I celebrated my 18th birthday, but unlike most 18 year olds, I have just 10 per cent vision remaining. This hasn’t stopped me from doing the things I love to do—like performing in cities around Australia and recording my latest album, Shooting Star.
I encourage everyone to see the world through my eyes and support the Royal Society for the Blind of SA today. Your donation has the potential to change someone’s life, like the RSB has changed mine.
Image: Rachael Leahcar with RSB Guide Dog pup laying on grass

Caption: RSB Ambassador, Rachael Leahcar pictured with RSB Guide Dog pup Henry on International Guide Dog Day. Photo: Sarah Reed, The Advertiser.

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Image: Olivia Todd at the RSB Royal Adelaide Show holding the First Prize certificate for Most Impressive Exhibit.

Caption: RSB Ambassador, Olivia holds the RSB’s First Prize award for Most Impressive Exhibit up to 36 sqm at the Royal Adelaide Show.

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++My Eye Health Program

Image: Corporate photo of Diana Swanson

The My Eye Health Program (MEHP) is a community based initiative, focused on the early detection and prevention of eye disease and the promotion of low vision rehabilitation services.
An education and awareness project developed by four of South Australia’s leading organisations, the RSB, the Freemasons Foundation, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (South Australia Branch) and the Sight for All Foundation, the MEHP aims to encourage individuals to be proactive in managing their eye health.
During 2011/12, 190 eye health education presentations were held across South Australia for allied health staff, residents of aged care facilities and independent living units, high school students and general community groups, reaching almost 4,800 people.
With thanks to the Freemasons Foundation and local councils, this includes 18 presentations to representatives from organisations in metropolitan and rural council areas.
In 2011/12, the MEHP also hosted several seminars on Diabetic Retinopathy and Age-related Macular Degeneration, which included presentations from leading ophthalmologists.
Working closely with the Aboriginal Health Council of SA (AHCSA), MEHP Community Educators continued to look at ways to improve eye health for the Indigenous community. This included the opportunity to present to Indigenous football players from the APY Lands and Maralinga during the Rio Tinto Cup.
In a MEHP first, eye health and vision loss training is now available to students from seven registered training organisations. Training presentations include MEHP resources, tips and strategies to assist with caring for someone who is blind or vision impaired, as well as referral pathways and information about the help and services available from the RSB.
Image: APY Lands and Maralinga football players standing in a line in uniform on a football field.

Caption: Football players from the APY Lands and Maralinga took part in the Rio-Tinto Cup

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Most recently, the MEHP is offering education to aged care organisations and facilities. The aim is to ensure consistency in staff development and competencies and to maintain the standard of care delivery for people who are blind or vision impaired. This includes the introduction of a Self-Assessment Competency Framework for healthcare providers working with people living with vision loss.

In 2012, the MEHP also introduced optional education through newly established Medicare Locals across the state, with the aim to improve the knowledge of practice nurses and allied health staff and provide MEHP resources for GP practices and primary healthcare programs.

The RSB, the Freemasons Foundation, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (South Australia Branch) and the Sight for All Foundation, would like to thank His Excellency, Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce AO CSC RANR, the Governor of South Australia for his involvement as Patron of the My Eye Health Program.

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