Jul 1, 2010, 1:42 PM
The Gambia Organization of the Visually Impaired (GOVI) on 15 October 2010 commemorated the World White Cane Day at its resource centre in Kanifing.
According to officials, the day is meant to create awareness and provide information to the general public on the plight of blind people.
Speaking at the event marking the day, the executive director of GOVI, Mamout Touray, said the White Cane Day was set aside to bring all blind people together to discuss matters affecting them.
He noted that the day is celebrated throughout the world to sensitize the public that blind people are also part of society.
According to Mr Touray, the White Cane Day is celebrated in almost all regions in the country with different types of activities. He said vehicle drivers should be careful when driving as blind people are also moving about and need to be protected.
"It is the responsibility of all those seeing to help the blind whenever they come across them," Mr Touray said.
He called on the government, philanthropists, and NGOs to come to their aid and to extend educational and other services to the provinces for the blind, so they can involve all blind people in the country in the educational system.
"Education for the blind is the most expensive kind of education," he said, thanking the government and all that have been contributing to their resource centre. "We have six students at the college and some in the senior secondary schools," he noted.
Muhammed Kora, national president of GOVI, told the gathering that The Gambia "is a role model" in celebrating the day.
He said GOVI used to celebrate the day with a match-past led by the police but due to financial constraints they decided to observe this year's event in a low profile.
The White Cane Day was more pronounced in 1979, Mr Kora said, adding that the day is used to sensitize everyone on the importance of treating the blind with care and of helping and protecting them wherever they are.
He advised all and sundry to desist from shunning or avoiding blind people and to engage them in discussions.
"Our aim is to enrol all blind people in the resource centre but due to accommodation problem and some other challenges we could not do so as at now," Mr Kora said, calling on parents to send their blind kids to school as "they have the same right as those seeing".
He thanked the government, Social Welfare, Sightsavers and Fast Track Initiative for the wonderful assistance they have been rendering to the centre.
According to the head teacher of GOVI Resource Centre, Ali Sallah, the centre has enrolled up to 38 students for this academic year. He also called on the public to assist the students to attain their full potentials.