At 19, Maretta is an energetic young woman, staunchly proud of her Samoan-Fijian heritage. It’s easy to forget that she’s also living with low vision due to Wolfram Syndrome, a neurological condition that makes it difficult to see things clearly and can also affect hearing, balance, and blood sugar control.
Living with low vision has been a challenge for Maretta, especially during her time at school. She found it difficult to talk about her struggles and often felt shy and isolated. However, she found support from Blind Low Vision NZ.
Learning of her love of music, we encouraged Maretta to explore this passion as a means of self expression and a way to contribute to the broader community. With our support, she has been able to develop her talents and has even performed at various live events and competitions.
Maretta’s story shows the importance of having access to support and resources when living with low vision. With the right help, young people with low vision can find ways to pursue their passions and live fulfilling lives.
This is what drives our annual Great Kiwi Bookathon, a wonderful opportunity for you and your family to help individuals like Maretta to independently follow their dreams.
Tane is a bright bubbly 11 year old of Maori descent who lives in Gore with his Mum, older sister and extended family, which includes his Aunty, Uncle and cousin. Tane has Light perception but has been blind since birth. He was diagnosed with Lebers Syndrome, a rare genetic condition, at a very young age.
Tane’s mother Steph connected with BLVNZ when they moved to Wellington in 2012 and Tane has received different support and services. The Orientation and Mobility Team helped out and according to Steph ‘They were absolutely amazing’ The team were great/ awesome. They were visiting on a regular basis and taught Tane how to get dressed and how to do things for himself.’ Steph feels that BLV NZ have helped Tane build independence and confidence. As a result Tane can navigate his way around school pretty easily and also has the ability to use his white cane. Tane attends a mainstream school and really enjoys it. ‘It’s a really good school. I have made lots of friends and the teachers are awesome’
Some of Tane’s favourite things to do, aside from using his Alexa, are to play games on his X Box and to do some running.
Tane benefits from the use of Library services and is an avid user of his Alexa. He uses it daily to help with a wide range of different activities including accessing talking books, playing action adventure role play games and he also uses it to find recipes. He most recently helped his Mum bake Chelsea biscuits. Tane really loves talking books. He usually listens to them to go to sleep with and loves the Harry Potter series so much that he has made his way through the entire set. Tane’s latest idea is to reread the series and to then create a Youtube video series which will focus on ‘Book versus Movie’.