Interviewing Julie Woods, from the Blind Foundation

Julie Woods is a wonderful client and ambassador of the Blind Foundation. She is also an active member of the Otago community. You can find out more about her on her website. To quote her website,  

” Julie Woods is an inspirational speaker and coach; who has visited the seven Wonders of the World!  So, is it really true she threw a party when she’d been blind for 15 years and has refereed three games of nude touch rugby?” 

Could you tell me a little about what the Blind Foundation does in the local community?

The Blind Foundation provides blind people with rehabilitative services so that they can lead meaningful and productive lives. From providing talking book machines to teaching a blind person to read braille, the Foundation supports local blind people with their vision loss.  

What makes you angry or upset about our community?

Attitudes towards people who are blind and partially sighted is the biggest barrier our members face. The public believing that blind people can’t do things like boil an egg leads to discrimination and prejudice that prevents our community from accessing employment.    

What needs to change in Dunedin?

Attitudes so that blind people can be employed!

What were your expectations coming into the Blind Foundation, and how have they changed?

There’s nothing like watching blind people do the things you think they can’t to open your mind to their capabilities. I’ve watched a 98 year old learn how to use an iPad.

What keeps you motivated?

Knowing that by telling blind people’s stories we can help shift attitudes about blindness and create a truly inclusive society.

What has surprised you the most during your volunteer activity/role/responsibilities?

How dedicated our staff are in believing in what blind people are capable of. I’ve never heard a rehab staff member say to a blind person  “no you can’t do that!”

How can interested students help out?

By phoning 03 466 4230 and offering to volunteer. We’re always looking for great people to help our great people!  

Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

Louis Braille, the inventor of braille! I’d have to brush up on my French though!

What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

Travelling to 50 countries by the time I was 50!

What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

Eating Ice cream, listening to ABBA and reading some braille!

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

For my optimism. It helps me face each day with hope!

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Blind Foundation

Te Tūāpapa o Te Hunga Kāpō

P: 09 355 6891


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