Provide opportunities for the blind to contribute to national development

Accra- Ms Lamisi Dabire, the Vice President of the Ghana Blind Union (GBU), has called on stakeholders and the public to provide opportunities for blind persons to enable them contribute to national development.

She said it was time to do away with the negative attitudes of depicting blind persons as symbols of pity and sympathy and appreciate and include them in all aspects of life.

Speaking at the International White Cane Day celebration held for the blind in Accra on Thursday, the Vice-President said the White Cane proved to be a reliable guide that enhanced independent movement for the blind over the years.

The programme was dubbed The White Cane, A tool for inclusion.

International White Cane day is celebrated for blind persons every year, creating awareness of the white cane, which is an essential tool used for independent mobility of the visually impaired.

Ms Dabire added that, the tool enabled them to achieve an independent life, but due to the financial constraints, many could not afford to get the cane and appealed to the public and stakeholders to support the GBU White Cane for all agenda.

To achieve holistic development in the country, it was imperative that blind persons were not left behind; she said and pledged 50 white canes to blind students.

Mr Peter Obeng Asamoah, the Executive Director of GBU, said the white cane was a crucial tool for the blind as it identified them and enabled them to navigate the environment, adding that the colour white was chosen since it could easily be recognised even from afar.

He said once the white cane was raised, it depicted that the user was blind and needed help and called on the public to desist from seeing blind persons as less useful in the society.

Mr Asamoah said the day was celebrated worldwide on the October 15, due to some challenges GBU had to shift its national celebration to November 7, 2019.

The director condemned the negative social attitudes of some people towards blind persons, adding that mobility was not the problem rather the negative attitude and stigma of people towards them.

He appreciated the sponsors for their support and hoped others would emulate their kind gesture.

Mr John Majisi, Chairman for the event and Member of Parliament for Krachi Mehumuru, said many people had little knowledge in dealing with people with disabilities and it was important to educate them especially drivers on how to deal with blind persons on the roads.

He said the GBU should collaborate with tertiary institutions to get students on the field to advocate and teach people on how to relate with visually impaired persons and see the need to include them in decision making.

He said people did not take issues pertaining to visually impaired seriously and asked the blind persons to be empowered and fight for their rights.

There were solidarity messages from the Accra Ultimate Lions, Ghana Federation of Disability, and the Blind in Reflexology, who donated reflexology beds.

The Bible society of Ghana donated Braille bibles to the Akropong School for the blind.

Source: Ghana News Agency