Visual impairment : Born legally blind due to ocular albinism
Caroline Casey a former management consultant was born legally blind.
One of Ireland’s highest profile women, 34-year-old Caroline established the Aisling Foundation to promote the ability of people with disabilities, focusing on empowering business through the employment of people with disabilities. She explains, “I love the sense of adventure and the excitement of achieving things you can only dream of.” She also wants to capture people’s imagination by proving that those with visual disability also have abilities, regardless of what the label says.
Talk about innovative ways, well here it is: From January 2001 to May 2001, Caroline trekked 1,000 kilometres across southern India on the back of an elephant called Bhadra, raising awareness of what people with a disability can do. A widespread International response was quick. Her trek was featured in National Geographic documentary as Elephant Vision.
Caroline is a very courageous person and has a positive attitude. She does not focus on what she can’t do and continues to lead a life full of adventure. “I am happy with my life,” she says. Caroline wants people, particularly employers, to understand that people with disability work 20 per cent harder than anyone else. She asks where else could one find people who work 120 per cent of their capacity.
She is now working full time with Aisling Foundation and has raised thousands of dollars, through her many adventurous fundraising projects.
Her good work has won her much acclaim. She has received many awards such as Ireland’s ‘People of the Year Award 2002’, in recognition of her tireless fundraising work and efforts to increase awareness of the issues facing people with disabilities, particularly those with vision impairment. Caroline was also named by Junior Chamber International as one of 'Ten Outstanding Young People of the Year' in 2002. She is a board member of many leading organisations including Comhairle, Sight Savers International and FÁS - the Irish National Training and Employment Authority.
She established the O2 Ability Awards in Ireland. These are first of its kind to acknowledge and profile Irish businesses that are demonstrating best practice in the employment of people with disabilities.
Despite these string of achievements, Caroline says she is ordinary: “What I have done, others can do if they want to...we are not special.”
Society needs to learn about people with disabilities. According to her, they have to be seen as people who study, fall in love, enjoy holidays and much more.
She strives to open people’s eyes, to see the potential in all who have a disability.