I don’t like the begging ... Blind vendor makes a living selling in market

April 28, 2016
Errol Crosby/Photographer Sandra Vassel (left) sells a pack of wipes to Elaine Cotterell in the Coronation Market.
Errol Crosby/Photographer Blind vendor Sandra Vassell making her way through the Coronation Market in downtown Kingston.
Errol Crosby/Photographer Blind vendor Sandra Vassell

Being a vendor who is visually impaired would seem like a difficult task to those with sight. However, for Sandra Vassell, who has been blind for 18 years, vending  is her livelihood.

“I have been a vendor for 34 years but I lost my sight in 1998," Vassell, 53, told THE STAR.

Vassell, who sells mainly in the Coronation Market, downtown Kingston, also walks around the crammed market district, aided by a stick as she goes in search of sale.

"Some people don’t believe I am blind. Some say mi a pretend," said Vassell, who navigates the streets with ultimate ease.

Vending, for Vassell, is her life and she argues that he deep-seated passion for her vocation is a testament to that fact that disability simply means she is differently able.


“The general public needs to have little sympathy towards us. Some of them believe say because you are blind you don’t have any other hope, we are not the worst," she said.

For Vassell, the creation of opportunities for people with disability would go a far way in helping the society to rid itself of old prejudices and to empower members of her community. In fact, she is imploring the Government to do more for members of the disabled community such as the blind.

"We need work. ...They need something to do. They just go there and sit down and plenty of them come out on the road and beg... Mi nuh like it. I don’t like the begging. Not because people are blind we have use," Vassell said.

Vassell, a mother of two, lost her sight to glaucoma, which is a group of diseases that damage the eye's optic nerve and can result in vision loss and blindness.

She told THE STAR that after losing her sight she stopped selling in the market for two years, but could not stay away. But instead of sitting by a stall, the blind woman decided on walking around and offering her goods for sale. She said that from time, to time her movement is hampered by the handcart men who sometimes go about their business without concern for people like her.

Vassell is not daunted by the obstacles around her.  The woman, who is from Maxfield Avenue in Kingston now goes around selling items such as hand sanitizers, nail clippers and ID card holders.




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