A seven-years-old girl from Derry has been chosen to take part in a special film to mark the 150th anniversary of the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).
The charity has worked with visually impaired children from across the UK to create a light-hearted short film to encourage people to see the person, not the sight loss.
The children share their ambitions for the future and ideas about what the world could be like and it’s clear that they don’t see their visual impairment as a barrier to achieving their dreams and fulfilling their potential.
Maggie Simms, from Derry, is one of the children taking part in the film
Maggie, who resides in the city with her parents and brother Peter, has Albinism.
This is a rare genetic condition which usually includes a high degree of visual impairment. The body has no, or very little melanin, which results in very pale skin meaning Maggie has to wear lots of sun cream and hats to protect her from sunlight.
Her brother, Peter, who is three, also has Albinism.
In the video, Maggie shares her dreams of going to university to become a guide dog trainer.
She also plans to make clothes for the dogs to wear once they are trained and her granddad’s dog, Molly, has already been measured up for a dress.
“I’ve met lots of other children like me and Peter thanks to RNIB so I want to say happy 150th birthday to them.”
Maggie hopes the charity will celebrate their milestone ‘with lots of cake’.
She added: “Just because I can’t see very well, I’m no different to anyone else and can’t wait to grow up and do whatever I want to do.”
Eleanor Southwood, the chair of RNIB, said: “As we mark our 150th anniversary, we’ve been reflecting on how the lives of blind and partially sighted people have been transformed over the last century and a half.
“But it’s also a chance to look to the future and the world we want to see: a world free of barriers for people with sight loss like me, where we are valued for who we are, not defined by the disabilities we happen to have.
“Wouldn’t it be amazing to live in a world where blind and partially sighted people don’t have to think twice about being included. Everything from accessing documents and information to travelling the world where we can be exactly who we choose to be.
“That’s why our commitment is to breaking down the barriers that still exist, dispelling misconceptions and making sure that visually impaired children live in a society that values their experience and enables them to fulfil their potential.
“And with the future in the hands of children like Maggie, I know we can do it!”
RNIB has supported millions of blind and partially sighted people since its inception in 1868 and aims to support lots more people in the future. The charity offers information, advice and services on issues including legal rights, access to books and education and employment, as well as providing emotional and practical support.
To watch the film and find out more about RNIB’s 150th anniversary visit www.rnib.org.uk/150