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Not daunted by blindness

INSPIRATIONAL: Dr Fritz Pinnock (left), executive director of the Caribbean Maritime Institute, with Poye Robinson and Minister of Labour and Social Security Derrick Kellier (right) during a tour of the Caribbean Maritime Institute last Wednesday [PIC CREDIT: Jermaine Barnaby]

"I DON'T think you know how it feels to have your sense of sight this minute and the next minute you are blind," declared 27-year-old Poye Robinson, who, in the space of minutes, lost his sight two years ago.

Despite this tragedy, Robinson was not daunted. He still pursued his dream in launching his business, the International Travel and Cultural Exchange programme, which is employing several university and college students.

Speaking with The Gleaner following the familiarisation tour of the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security last week, Robinson said January 18, 2012 will be forever etched in his mind.

"Everything happened in minutes. Literally. I was at school talking with my friends and I remember having breakfast and all of a sudden the plate changed colour, everything got whiter and whiter, until I was able to see nothing," Robinson said.

He continued, "I don't think I even have the words to describe that feeling. I was absent from school for a month after the incident because I became suicidal. It was very depressing and the speed at which everything turned was a shocker."

His company, which started in October of the same year, was not short of disappointments.

KEEPING FOCUS

"The first set of students who I sent were only first-year students from CMI and one lady from UTech (University of Technology) because persons went with other agencies. Even friends who I use to sit and eat with expressed a lot of scepticism because they were fearful and didn't really believe the business was legitimate, neither did they believe that I would be where I am today," said Robinson.

"I borrowed money and the process took a lot of effort. To see how things unfolded was a bit daunting, but I remained focused and things have improved."

He added with confidence, "This year, I see where there will be increases, students are coming in and operations are improving nicely."

He, however, said he will not be pressured and gave credit to friends and family who supported him.

"I welcome the challenges even though sometimes I have my moments, but thankfully I have the support of school and family who never leave me out. They ensure I have all my materials for exam and that I get around easily, so I know I will get through this," he said

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