Visually impaired demand dignity and equal opportunity

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Daniel Trump, the National Co-coordinator of the National Federation for the Visually Impaired, displaying the symbolic white cane.

USAKOS – Close to 150 visually impaired people held a demonstration in Usakos in the Erongo Region during the commemoration of ‘White Cane Day’ with First Lady Penehupifo Pohamba last week.

The visually impaired travelled from as far as the south of the country for the day’s event that took place under the theme “Controlling own life through self-determination and independent living.” They entertained residents with their artistic talents, including poetry recitals, role-playing and singing. Madam Pohamba said the theme is admonishing visually impaired people on the need to control their own destiny and not allowing opportunistic people to use them for their own selfish gain. “The visually impaired should be able to control their lives.  Therefore I would like to urge our fellow Namibians to help people living with disabilities to make their own decisions and shape their destinies. Only then would we be able to significantly contribute to their wellbeing,” she explained. Madam Pohamba went on to say that education and training is one of the many challenges faced by the visually impaired and said more should be done to complement government efforts to assist the visually impaired through continuous life-long learning and skills development.

“We have so many institutions that provide different courses to many Namibians, but 99 percent of these institutions do not have training programmes to accommodate visually impaired people. I am requesting the Namibian Training Authority to look at this critical matter and put in place some measures to improve the situation,” she said. According to the First Lady both the government and the private sector should undertake efforts to employ people living with disabilities.

“The United Nations Convention on the right of persons with disabilities, says that both parties should recognise the right of persons with disabilities to work on an equal basis with others,” she said. The white cane is a symbolic tool that serves as a guide and is used by the visually impaired when moving around. A white cane can sometimes indicate that the user is blind or has poor vision and can be effective when visually impaired people request information in shops, from bus or taxi drivers or even the general public.


By Eveline de Klerk

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