Surrey resident Aman Gill, who goes by the stage name Anya, sings at a CNIB 100th-anniversary event at Surrey City Hall on April 28. (submitted photo: CNIB)

Blind Surrey singer helps CNIB celebrate its 100th anniversary

City hall plays host to the organization’s centennial celebration

Supporters of CNIB attended the organization’s centennial celebration in Surrey on April 28, in the atrium at city hall.

More than 150 donors, staff, clients and volunteers marked the 100th anniversary of CNIB, founded in 1918 by a group of seven men “who recognized the demand for support for the many veterans with vision loss returning from World War I,” according to a post at

The daytime event in Surrey “focused on the charity’s storied past — and looked ahead to a bold, ambitious future for people with sight loss in Canada,” Danielle Suter, marketing manager for CNIB’s B.C.-Yukon division, told the Now-Leader.

Surrey-based singer Aman Gill, who goes by the stage name Anya, entertained the crowd with her songs.

“I was very pleased when Anya volunteered to provide the entertainment,” said Jennifer Yankanna, CNIB manager of programs and services. “She lost her sight when she was three months old, and has always had a passion for music. She is an amazing young woman, currently studying at Capilano University to become a music therapist.”

Gill has received many hours of instruction and services from CNIB over the years, Suter noted, including white cane training and being part of a peer-support group. She is among thousands of clients CNIB provides services to every year.

The event in Surrey also recognized 46 regional winners of the CNIB’s Century of Change awards, for volunteer work. Award winners from Surrey were Gurjeet Dhahan, Lovette Yewchen and Sybil Smith. Also, Delta residents Smitha Pai, Roland Katagi and John Lund were honoured.

CNIB says more than 5.5 million Canadians have one of the four major eye diseases — glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy or age-related macular degeneration — and are “at serious risk of losing their sight in the future, if they have not already. That’s one out of every six Canadians.”

CNIB, or Canadian National Institute for the Blind, “passionately provides community-based support, knowledge and a national voice to ensure Canadians who are blind or partially sighted have the confidence, skills and opportunities to fully participate in life,” the organization says on its website.

”Each year, Canadians who are blind or partially sighted receive more than 500,000 hours of direct support from CNIB, helping them build their independence and fully participate in life.

“Every minute, three Canadians turn to CNIB, inquiring about information and support to overcome the challenges of vision loss.”

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Gurjeet Dhahan, a Surrey resident, holds the Century of Change medal given to her at the CNIB’s 100th-anniversary event at Surrey City Hall on April 28. (submitted photo: CNIB)

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