Blind Union appeal for white canes

Members of the Ghana Blind Union (GBU) are appealing to corporate Ghana to support it secure white canes for members to facilitate their movement and perform basic tasks without being aided by another. The white cane provides effective means for blind students to get to school; blind adults to get to work, aged to remain active as well as prevent the situation where some parents use their children during school hours to aid their movements. Unfortunately, white canes are not produced in the country and have to be imported for a fee many blind people could not afford, said Mr Yaw Ofori-Debrah in an interview with the Ghana News Agency to explain the significance of White Cane Safety Day celebrated on October 15 every year. Mr Ofori-Debrah, who is the President of the Ghana Federation of the Disabled, and the GBU, said people across the globe celebrate White Cane Safety Day each year because the white cane represents independence for visually impaired people. “People with visual impairments aren’t really seen as much in the community, so when someone has a white cane, that’s a symbol for them, their personal safety; and also for the safety and education of others,” he added. He said it was important for motorists to remember that if they see someone with a white cane crossing the road or pedestrian crossing, they must stop. Mr Ofori-Debrah called on individuals and corporate institutions to assist the Union acquire more white canes for the blind as a way of promoting independent movement and minimizing the tendency of blind parents using their school going children to aid their movement. He expressed worry that local and national authorities were developing more intercity roads without provisions for blind people and others with disabilities, adding, “In Ghana there are so many open gutters and drainage which pose danger to blind persons moving about unaided.” He urged all blind persons to use the white cane which has the potential of preventing them from body hurt and also help raise their profile of independence.