11 September 2017

Seychelles: In Visit Home to Seychelles, Blind Singer Offers Massages to Raise Money

A well-known blind female singer residing abroad was in her homeland of Seychelles for a month to raise funds for the National Council for Children through her skills as a masseuse.

Cecile Lablache, who now lives in Australia, and her partner, Lance Collins, provided remedial massage to the general public in an activity last month where participants were encouraged to donate at the end of each session. Lablache and Collins are both qualified masseurs with eight years of experience and their own clinic.

Their massages help reduce stress, improve circulation and range movement, while also easing and toning muscles. It also provides a deep relaxation that allows the mind and body to recharge and rejuvenate.

Eager to experience the magic touch of the blind artist, over 30 people took part in the activity which raised around $295 (SCR 4,000).

"People feel that because I am blind, my sense of touch is better than others, and hence they enjoy my massage," said Lablache.

After a one hour massage with Lablache, Terrence Dingwall said, "I had severe pain in my shoulders and could not raise my arms, but now I feel fine."

Cecile Lablache, as well as her sister Brigitte and brother Hans, were born with a rare genetic eye disorder that affects the retina -- called Retinitis pigmentosa -- for which there is no known cure.

The three siblings and two other blind artists, Thomas Knowles and Robert Chetty, took the Seychelles' music scene by storm in the late 70s and 80s with their hits in the musical band called 'Blind Faith.'

The chief executive of the council, Jean-Claude Matombe, said that the funds collected will help boost activities such as parenting sessions, anger management for kids as well as for sensitisation and awareness campaign on children's rights.

Matombe added that "We had hoped to attract children with disabilities or muscle problems or even pregnant mothers, but we are satisfied and eager to do more next time."

Lablache left Seychelles for Australia in the late 1990s after working for many years as a telephone operator with Telecommunication Company, Cable and Wireless. It was there that she developed her sense of touch through a course at the Swinburne University of Melbourne.

"I worked hard at it because it was something I wanted to do," she said, adding that that is how coped with the 18-month course despite her vision impairment.

Lablache has visited her homeland of Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indin Ocean, frequently and has collaborated with local organisations to help others especially people with disability.

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