Tuesday, February 1, 2011

...but what about the other blind children?

It's a daring adventure for anyone, especially a 12-year-old boy, and even more so, for one who is blind. But, climbing the highest point in the country of Belize, Victoria Peak, is a challenge that Rowan Garel and his father Joe are more than willing to take on for the blind and visually impaired children at BCVI.

In 2010, the Belize Council for the Visually Impaired (BCVI) faced the likelihood of not being able to carry out their Annual Summer Camp for blind children due to a lack of funding. The non-profit organization supports blind and visually impaired students year-round, with the Camps being the highlight for them and their families. While the donations trickled in and camp was successful, in facing this crisis, Rowan and his parents worried about the other kids not having the opportunity in 2011 and came up with the idea.

The Garels have been with BCVI since Rowan was a baby. Now, 12 years old and at the top of his 7th Grade class, Rowan is the model student and a wonderfully caring boy. When told about BCVIs struggle raising funds, his parents were offered the chance to send him to the U.S. for a few weeks to attend a summer camp. Although Rowan was excited at the idea, his heartfelt response was, "What about the other kids?" Many of the students and young children in the program come from underprivileged families, and are not fortunate enough to have such opportunities. So, Rowan and his parents decided to help raise funds themselves. And so came about the Climbing Ambassadors for Sight.

Training started in January 2011 to prepare Joe and Rowan for the March 24th climb. The family, along with BCVI, hope that this venture will raise awareness and funds to help support not only Summer Camp, but other educational and rehabilitative training that the organization provides to blind and visually impaired people throughout Belize. 

Please note that there has been a change in date: the climb has been moved up to March 24th!

If you would like to support this cause, please click here: http://bcvi.org/index.html

In Belize, please send your donations to BCVI at
PO Box 525
Belize City, Belize

For any questions, you can contact us via email at csdairs@gmail.com or by telephone at
 (501) 636.1130

Rowan and his pet turtle


  1. Hi Rowan,
    I am truly inspired by your decision to climb the mountain. I teach art at St. John's College and will ask all my students to follow your journey. Best of luck to you and your family. (yasser musa)

  2. Hi Rowan,
    You are an amazing young man. My family and I admire your strength and determination. We wish you all the best on your journey and we will be praying for your success! Stay Strong, God Bless! Angela Musa

  3. Hey what's up Rowan,
    I am Javier Williams from Saint Johns College and I am truly inspired by what you are planning to do! I hope you have a safe and exciting trip climbing Victoria Peak!!!!!!

  4. Tonight is the first time that I used my backpack. I am not used to the weight so my legs felt a little strange but apart from that everything was brilliant. We walked about 2 miles at a brisk pace with the 8lb. pack.

  5. Hey Rowan,

    Im James Young from Saint John's collage.I hope you are safe when you are climbing the mountain. i find that really cool. God bless you dude! :P

  6. Hi Rowan, I'm from Corozal Town I am so proud of your strength and courage .I am a mother of three and I congratulate both your parent's for their support.I will surely pass along your blog link so that many more can follow on your journey.God Bless you and your family.R Magaña

  7. Rowan, I am touched by your very "grown up" attitude to raise awareness for those less fortunate. You are truly an amazing little boy and exude strength to all those who know you. All the best and we will be rooting for you and your dad on March 25th. Good luck!!! Farah, Jovan and Kaitlyn Guerrero

  8. You go Rowan,I'm Jessy and I'm 8 yrs old.

  9. Hi Rowan, I found your story truly inspirational and I believe the world needs more people like yourself. People that aren't afraid to challenge their physical disabilities and step up to the plate for the greater good. People who think of the world as there home and try and make it a better place. You are more a man than many of the people I know and I am 17. I am currently proposing that my school have a rags day and all the proceeds go to your cause. I hope it works out.
    Best of luck on your journey and I hope it will be a success. Kyle Reneau

  10. Stay strong Rowan,when you tell your self that you can do something,just do it ,God will all ways be there wiyh you little friend,just stay strong,and we all will pray for you.you can do it.with the help of God .Bless you little brother...Tito.M

  11. Rowan, it's so exciting to follow you in this brave journey. Your parents are so lucky to have you.We, your family are so proud of you. Tia Martha

  12. Hi rowan i wish you best luck on your adventerous journey
    Its madison we went to hummmingburd together hope you still remember me
    Good luck

  13. hey Rowan,wish i was that brave hope you make it all the way with no problems

  14. Rowan,
    You have a big heart! May your journey be a success filled with fond memories with your Dad. We at Belize Audubon Society support your efforts to challenge yourself and raise awareness for the less fortunate kids.
    ~Dominique Lizama and the entire Belize Audubon Society staff

  15. HEY Rowan, hope you do good on your journey. wish i had the courage to do something like that. hope you make it all the way, and continue to practice...........from Crlos Perez 2B SJC

  16. Hey Rowan,
    I heard about this via twitter just a little bit ago. I am also blind (a bit older though, at 45) and do a number of similar things. if you have anyone there with a mountain bike, try to learn how to ride. believe me, its a blast. Anyone who says the blind cannot ride a bike need only look at the world access for the blind website. I am one of 30 such riders in the US, so I *know* it can be done.

    anyway, good luck on your climb and enjoy the nice weather down there.

  17. Hi Rowan

    We are your cousins in Canada. We are very proud of you and very excited to hear about your adventure. Your Grandma tells us all about you. You are amazing, and you are an inspiration to Ethan and Cameron. They have so many questions and are looking foward to tracking you journey.

    Susan Shaw

  18. What a vision you have, Rowan and your father Joe, to be so selfless in your love. That you will climb Victoria Peak on behalf of the other children speaks profoundly of the depth of your kindness and love for others. May your eyes continue to see beyond Victoria Peak. Have a successful journey!!! sylvia flores (Dangriga)

  19. Hi Rowan,
    Big up to you and your dad for wanting to do the climb. I know your mom is excited and proud of you and so is the BCVI staff. BIG UP!

  20. Row, All of us in Virginia are so proud of you! Not only for the incredible physical feat that the climb will be, but also because you are doing it to help and inspire other kids. Belize is blessed by you already at only 12 years... imagine what all else your life will hold and contribute!! We'll be thinking about you the 24th-27th! Lots of love, Lauren and Jeff Davis

  21. Hi Rowan, this is Allegra's mom writing. Allegra sent me the link to your blog, so I saw the pictures of you and your dad climbing Victoria Peak. Sounds like it was a "Peak experience" for you and Dad. It looks like a beautiful spot, and I wish I had been there with you and listening to all the birds. I hope you keep on hiking.It's spring here right now and i enjoy hearing the birds in the morning and the peepers at night. those are the tree frogs. What else have you been up to lately? Please say Hi to your parents and sister for me. Joanna