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Bud Keith Scholarships

Geovanni Ibarra

Geovanni lost vision in one eye due to an infection when he was eight years old. He graduated from a vocational program at a high school in Chiriquí Province and worked in construction until he was 25. Then another infection took the vision from his remaining eye. After three years of sitting around his parents’ home, he moved to Panama City for rehabilitation and training. Those of you who visited the Patronato Luz del Ciego at PCPF’s 2013 reunion may recall meeting him while he was relearning how to sign his name.


His vocational degree was not sufficient for admission to a university, so in 2013, with the help of the Bud Keith Fund, he repeated his final year of high school in an academic program. During the break between high school and his first year of university, the Bud Keith Fund paid for an internship in a hotel’s back office.


Now, still with a stipend from the Bud Keith Fund, he’s completed his course requirements for his B.A. in religion, ethics, and morals. To graduate, Geovanni must still complete a social service project. In late 2019, he’ll be working with Fundación Mi Voz Para Tus Ojos, an organization that makes audio books for disabled people and others who can’t read. He aspires to be a teacher.


What does a 34-year-old blind student do with his free time? He runs triathlons – seven of them this year. The first stage of a triathlon is a long swim and the second is a long bike ride. The photo shows Geovanni and his sighted trainer/guide dripping wet from their swim, looking for the tandem bike they’ll use for the second stage. The third stage is a long run. Geovanni is on the right.

Photo of Giovanni Ibarra
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