Oct 15, 2008, 6:52 AM
Monday 15th October is commemorated annually as World White Cane Day.
This day of recognition of the plight of blind persons is observed around the world each year to highlight the use of the White Cane in our community, and to promote the safety needs of people who are blind or have low vision.
The day is also meant to enlighten motorists, pedestrians and the public on the importance of the white cane to blind person.
In light of its significance, we would like to implore all and sundry to work towards a change in our attitude towards blind people, and to give them all the support they deserve in society.
The need to empower the blind people is very important, especially at a time when we have massive flow of traffic in every part of the country.
We believe that if fully empowered, the visually impaired can equally contribute to nation-building.
If more people understand the functions of the white cane, it will be easier for people using them to move freely within their environments.
Our drivers, in particular, must understand the plight of our blind people. It’s pathetic to see some of our visually impaired stranded on the roadside without receiving adequate attention from drivers.
Such negligence and indifference to the blind is unacceptable and must stop; and our drivers must desist from such behaviour.
The blind are equally human beings and, therefore, need equal treatment as those of us with good sight. What people need to realise is that the white cane helps the visually impaired live normal lives.
The white cane often used by blind people makes travelling easier for them. We should, therefore, respect the cane as it gives them the sense of direction.
In countries like the US, for example, the White Cane Law in Florida states that traffic must stop whenever a person carrying a white cane or travelling with a guide dog enters the street, and must stay stopped until the person has crossed safely.
A similar policy is needed here for the betterment of our visually impaired.
Some blind persons are sometimes more productive than normal people. Therefore, when such people are supported they can bring rapid development to society.