Get to know the man who built up Club de Ciegos de Colón over the past twelve years.
Señor Clop with granddaughter

Carlos Clop is an inspiration.

For 12 years, he has led Club de Ciegos de Colón, a community of visually disabled individuals. Everyday, he goes to the club's center, located in the heart of Colón, Panama to interact with every member.

Señor Clop lost his sight when he was in his fifties. One day, the company he worked for provided a general check up for all employees, and the doctors noticed that Señor Clop had premature cataracts.

When doctors replaced the lenses in his eyes, a mistake meant that Señor Clop lost his eyesight completely.

After surfacing from a year-long depression, Señor Clop found the Club de Ciegos de Colón. "I found that life wasn't finished for me," he said. He became an active member, and eventually replaced the original founder of the club.

Señor Clop's primary goal is to prepare the visually disabled for jobs, and he encourages them to be self-sufficient. He leads by example, and can always be found fixing broken items, cleaning, and working on the computer.

He is also a passionate lobbyist, and constantly approaches the Panamanian government and companies for funding. He is supported by a loving wife and family. Once, his wife says, the family car broke down and Señor Clop got out in the pouring rain to fix the car and continue home—without any help.

"I don't know how he does some of the things he does," she says. "If it were me, I would have been defeated a long time ago."

He takes a daily walk from his house—located on a steep hillside—down to a bustling road and back, all on his own. He rides the public bus frequently, and his wife says that many people don't know he is visually impaired upon first impressions.

Señor Clop strives to provide clothing, food, and education for the 57 members in the community he serves. They live together, work together, and most importantly, they support each other, overcoming a society that has always said "you can't."

Señor Clop is a man who truly lives by the motto of Club de Ciegos de Colón: "Nunca digas no sin haberlo intentado, la ceguera no es obstaculo para la superacia."

Translated, it says "never say no without trying, blindness is not an obstacle to improvement."