Teaching blind students fulfils childhood dream

Christine Casey is travelling to Fiji to teach blind children.
Christine Casey is travelling to Fiji to teach blind children. Nev Madsen

TOOWOOMBA woman Christine Casey is preparing to fulfil a long-held wish to teach blind children in a developing country.

The university graduate has spent the past two years teaching blind and sighted children in Victoria.

She now hopes her life experience will help her on her next adventure: volunteering as a teacher in Fiji.

"I am a little bit nervous," Ms Casey said.

"It is a bit scary for anyone to give up their paid employment.

"I will be going out of my comfort zone.

"But it will be also a good opportunity to travel."

During the year-long experience, Ms Casey expects she will teach blind children Braille music and other subjects.

"I have wanted to work in education and with students who are blind since I was in primary school," she said.

Braille music enables blind students to read and interpret musical notes, rather than learning through listening.

"If you hear someone else's music, you are hearing their interpretation," Ms Casey said.

"But if you read it yourself, you are interpreting it for yourself as well.

"I had 20 Braille music students in Melbourne.

"Their ability ranged with some who were very advanced.

"One year 12 student is looking to study music at university.

"You need to learn Braille music for that level."

The 24-year-old attended Fairview State School and Toowoomba Christian College before studying at the University of Southern Queensland where she graduated with a Bachelor of Music.

Ms Casey then completed a teaching degree at La Trobe University in Wodonga.

"I am very lucky that I have had good support from a lot of different people," she said.

"It has helped me to have the confidence to go to Fiji.

"It is quite a normal thing for someone my age to want to do, I just happen to be blind."

In 2005, The Chronicle spoke to Ms Casey when she won a Lions Club Youth of the Year public speaking competition.

She was in Year 12 and already had plans in place to help others.

"I'd love to be involved in a school in the Solomon Islands for blind children," she said in 2005.

"Many of them have to drop out of school because their needs can't be met, but they have such a happy attitude to life."

Remarkably, the Fijian school Ms Casey will volunteer at hosts children from the Solomon Islands.

Ms Casey's father Joe is understandably proud of his daughter and her achievements.

"Christine is 24 years old now, totally blind, and an amazing woman," he said.

Topics:  blind education student teacher toowoomba

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