Woman who lost her sight in a random shooting has her life ‘transformed’ by Redbridge support group

Members of Activeyes Redbridge

Members of Activeyes Redbridge - Credit: Archant

A 57-year-old woman who lost her sight in a random shooting in South America had her life “transformed” by a Redbridge support group.

Suffering from a sight ­impairment can cause a person to become heavily isolated, as they struggle to adapt to their condition.

But Activeyes Redbridge is boosting the confidence and self-esteem of blind and partially-blind residents through its work with them.

Founded as Redbridge Vision in March 2012, it provides members with opportunities to ­socialise with each other, through events such as tennis sessions, and also represents their interests in strategy group meetings.

For member and trustee Rosa Gomez, 57, it has changed her life after she lost her sight in a shooting four years ago.

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The Prospect Road, Woodford Green, resident said: “I was looking for an organisation to provide activities for me and support and I was not having very much success, until ­Activeyes was set up.

“It has given me my life back; before I used to sit in an armchair at home.”

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Rosa was shot in the arm in Colombia and the lack of blood reaching her brain caused her to lose her sight and the use of her hands. “It has been years now and I have still not come to terms with it,” said Rosa.

“But people who lose their sight one way or the other can have help. I have one-to-ones with Femida [chairman of Activeyes] when I feel low.

“She’s been wonderful in supporting me and getting me a computer with a voice-activated programme.”

Rosa hopes to get involved with fundraising and providing training opportunities for members.

Chairman Femida Dadabhai, 35, has also found a new lease of life through Activeyes and ­being a co-chairman for the Redbridge Vision Strategy Group.

She has a severe visual ­impairment which affects her peripheral and central vision.

Femida said: “I suffered with cataracts for many years which were picked up in the later stages in 2010.

“I couldn’t even see the first letter on the board when my sight was tested. “I had the cataracts out but after that it was found that I have a degenerative condition with my retina.

“I wasn’t given any support or understanding and became very isolated. I wasn’t going out any more and was hardly able to take my own children to school.”

But with the support of “loving husband” Mohammed Hanis, 38, and Activeyes, Femida has turned her life around and now doesn’t look at her disability as being a barrier.

She has also seen a change in members of the organisation.

“The members are starting to believe in themselves,” she said.

“They are now socialising and making friends and concentrating on what they can do now rather than what they can’t do.

“They have realised they are just as valued and important as everyone else.”

n For membership call Fadeia Hossian on 07943 592140 and for volunteering call Femida Dadabhai on 07767 989021. You can also email enquiries@activeyesredbridge.org.uk or visitfacebook/com/activeyesredbridge.

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