Charles after his graduation from the Dominica State College

Loik Charles, of Morne Daniel, is creating history by becoming the first visually-challenged citizen of Dominica to pursue university studies in the United States.

Today, Monday, August 27, 2018, Charles begins studies for a BSc. Degree in Marketing at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas.

His studies have been made possible through the sponsorship and support of a number of foreign and local benefactors providing help to his parents.

These include:
• A four-year Distinguished Scholarship, a four-year International Grant and a one-year Scholarship from the University of the Incarnate Word.
• A Grant from the Government of Dominica
• A Grant from the Piton Foundation
• A Grant from CORISAV Inc. and Joachim Henry Construction
Logistical support from Lifeline Ministries
• In-Kind contributions from the Dominica Association of Persons with Disabilities.

Dr Edwin Blanton, a past Peace Corps Volunteer in Dominica, is a Director of Ready Willing Enable Inc. of Texas and also helped facilitate this opportunity since he graduated from the University of the Incarnate Word as a PhD.

Ready Willing Enable Inc. is a Texas based non-profit organization established by two former Peace Corps Volunteers to support education and provide skills to youth and children with disabilities in Dominica.

The organization, over a period of several years, has conducted skills development summer camps and Charles was one of the first participants when the programme began in 2007. He later became one of the trainers of the programme.

Charles is a man of firsts.

He was the first blind student to attain a mainstream primary school education at the Berean Christian Academy, the first blind student to attain a mainstream secondary education at the St. Mary’s Academy and the first blind student to graduate from the Dominica State College. There he attained an Associate Degree in Information Technology in 2016.

He is now the first blind Dominican to go to University.

Charles, his mother and Stepfather, Rosemund and Dwayne Le Blanc and his father, Vincent Charles now join everyone to express deepest gratitude and thanks to all who made all these firsts possible since his premature birth in Hurricane Marilyn and the loss of his sight in his first few days.

“We are still trying to raise funds to buy Loik a state of the art phone that can manage the many specialized apps he needs to record his amazing music and stay in touch with home,” his parents and sponsors said.