“I knew I wanted to be in my third level, and I always want to keep learning – to follow through and do my PhD.”
– Paul, ChildVision graduate, blind since birth.
Friends to ChildVision first met Paul in 2016, as part of a newsletter story on the effective and inspiring blind judo classes that were making a huge difference to Paul’s life, and kindly funded with the help of good people like you.
He is as forthright explaining the situation as he is about every obstacle he’s faced. “I knew I wanted to be in third level, and I always want to keep learning – to follow through and to do my PhD. But the Leaving Certificate was just not for me.”
Blind since birth, by the age of 16 Paul was already winning All-Ireland judo competitions against fully sighted competitors. But his aspirations included much more than sport. Back then he told us, “I use the donated braille note I’ve been given for almost everything. I want to go on to study either music, history, astronomy, or metallic studies.” It was a future you were helping him to build even then, but it wasn’t easy getting there.
Creating the best way forward
Helping to fund the tirelessly dedicated and expert staff at ChildVision is one of the many remarkable gifts your donations bring to students like Paul. And for the next several years Paul attended the local secondary school while living at ChildVision for the subjects he enjoyed. But as the time approached to sit the state exam, it became clear that a Leaving Cert was not in Paul’s cards.
Together with Paul, who is now 19, staff at ChildVision set to work. They looked at all the possible options while having him begin interviews for third level. As a result he was able to successfully receive places without the need to sit the cert. To Paul’s delight, one of those places was in the access programme in Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) — the exact pathway he’d hoped for to work towards a full-time honours degree in computer science!
Currently studying applied physics and mathematics at DIT Mountjoy Square, Paul will start the honours degree next September. “Paul did such a good interview that they wanted him as part of their college,” said Caroline, one of our team leaders in ChildVision. “He has so much to offer in terms of his intelligence and sporting ability – but he’s also just a lovely young man.”
Paul’s journey continues
You’ll be pleased to learn that Paul, whose sight loss condition is called Leber congenital amaurosis, has lots of supports in college. Read his story in the Spring 2019 newsletter here. And with the help of a scholarship, he’s still doing judo! “It’s the place for me,” Paul says contentedly. “I really enjoy the challenge. It’s good to be able to balance study and sport, and it’s the path I see myself going down.” A path that your kindness and generosity helps begin every day at ChildVision, for visually impaired children and young people. Here’s to the future, Paul – and here’s to you, for giving Ireland’s blind children a chance. Please donate to help a blind child today if you can. Thank you!
Please give what you can to help Paul and more children like him.