International White Cane Day commemorated

16 Oct 2013 08:30am
USAKOS, 16 OCT (NAMPA) – Namibia’s First Lady Penehupifo Pohamba urged fellow citizens to help people living with disabilities so that they could make their own decisions and shape their own destinies.
She made this request during the commemoration of White Cane Day here on Tuesday.
The white cane is a symbolic tool, which serves as a guide which directs visually impaired people when moving around.
The white cane also identifies the user as a person who is blind or has low vision, and serves as a tool of consideration when requesting information from shops, clerks, bus drivers and the general public.
Pohamba indicated that this ceremony focused on raising awareness on the discriminative behaviour towards the visually impaired.
“I want to request everyone to understand and respect visually impaired people so that we can better serve them, and improve their living conditions,” she noted.
The First Lady explained that this day also serves as a reminder to the community of the importance and usefulness of the white cane, as well as shows the achievements of visually impaired people.
“Education and training is one of the main challenges faced by the visually impaired people, and more should be done to complement the efforts of Government to help these people establish themselves through continuous life-long-learning and skills’ development,” Pohamba stated.
Although Namibia has many institutions which provide different courses to many Namibians, 99 per cent of these institutions do not have training programmes for the visually impaired.
“I thus want to request the Namibian Training Authority to look at this critical matter, and put in place some measures to improve the situation.
Both the Government and the private sector should also put in place deliberate policies to employ people living with disabilities,” she requested.
The Namibian Federation of the Visually Impaired (NFVI) commemorated the day under the theme “Controlling my own life through self-determination and independent living”.
During the ceremony, various groups performed short dramatic pieces and traditional dances to highlight the difficulties experienced by the visually impaired.