Maribel Steel is a writer and inspirational speaker, mother, and vocalist. She has been legally blind since age 17 with a degenerative eye condition, Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). Yet it is the journey towards blindness she is grateful for: learning to trust her other senses to hear, to touch, to smell, to intuit, to love, and to laugh.
She lives in Melbourne, Australia, and shares the day's challenges and victories with her partner and personal wizard, Harry, and her teenage son and muse, Mike.
In 2015, Maribel was nominated for the following:
- The Brenda Gabe Leadership Award (Women with Disabilities, Vic) as one of nine nominees statewide)
- Daily Life Women of the Year Award—celebrating women who take a stand for change and equality issues
- Finalist in the prestigeous Williamson Community Leadership Program Scholarship award
Maribel participated in a Self-Expression and Leadership program and designed a community event called "Vision-Quest Melbourne," endorsed by Arts Access Victoria and the Victorian Women’s Trust.
Having been self-employed for most of her working life, she counts being the mother of four sighted children as one of her most challenging and fulfilling careers. She has worked as a qualified aromatherapist and masseur, relying on her other senses and intuition to help her clients feel more in tune with their own healing process, physically and emotionally.
She has also worked as a teaching artist for two primary schools in Melbourne and as a children’s choir leader and music program facilitator. The students came from refugee families with limited English language skills, and her weekly sessions were devoted to helping the students gain better literacy through the appreciation of creative songs. The children were often fascinated by her talking watch and her white cane, an education in itself by seeing a visually impaired songwriter at work in their sighted classroom.
Maribel has delivered a variety of training presentations in aged care to tertiary students and interested organizations in order to dispel some of the myths held by others about living with a disability. She is a creative and positive person who enjoys inspiring others to see how losing sight is not the end of the world, but the door to a new way of being.
"I share my knowledge and life experience to write from the vantage point that life is full of challenge. We can’t escape the call for change when eyesight begins to fade, but we all possess valuable tools and unique talents readily accessible to help us seize the challenge, and turn it into our next stepping stone to personal success."
Maribel understands the challenges and rewards of working with both a dog guide and using a white cane, and she has trained with Guide Dogs Victoria as a guest speaker and Vision Australia as a peer support person.
Author and Writer
She is an author and writer who has coined the phrase ‘Mastering the ART of Being Blind’ as it is her personal philosophy. She delights in connecting with others through the sharing of our life experiences.
Most days, you will find her tapping away on her laptop with her verbose parrot, JAWS (a screen reading computer program), composing regular blog posts and anecdotes about the good, the bad, and the ridiculous aspects of being blind. Check her website for more of her philosophy and stories.
In 2012, she plunged into the current trend of self-publishing with her first book, My Mother’s Harvest, and she has a selection of guest posts appearing on many websites across the world, not forgetting her role as 'big ears' when working with her partner in his music recording studio.
Maribel loves to plant colorful flowers, taste French pastries, visit ancient cathedrals in Europe, and see the world all around by touching landscapes. She is a natural networker and looks forward to being a VisionAware peer advisor.
In 2015, Maribel became the "Vision Loss Expert" for about.com. Her writings can be found at blindness.about.com. She has also been recognized by the International Authors Forum for her writings on accessibility and reading.
She is also registered with Shapiro International as an international speaker.
- Raising Awareness About Living with Low Vision Through Poetry
by Maribel Steel on 4/17/2017
- How to Get the Most from the Bard in Your Book
by Maribel Steel on 3/27/2017
- Many Different Hats: An Audio Short Story
by Maribel Steel on 3/22/2017
- Taking Hold of Happiness When Challenged by a Visual Disability
by AFB Staff on 3/20/2017
- Friendship on International Women's Day
by Maribel Steel on 3/8/2017