The Chairman of Nigeria Society for the Blind, Chief Olu Falomo has appealed to the public to assist the visually challenged and stop treating them as unwanted persons in the society.
Falomo who made this appeal at a press briefing held at the Vocational Training Centre for the Blind, Oshodi to kick-start activities for the 12th White Cane Day slated for Saturday 12th August, 2017 said the cost of training the visually challenged at the centre now stands at N5million per month.
Falomo said the White Cane Day is an annual charity and public enlightenment programme of the Society started 12 years ago as another event to raise funds for the training and rehabilitating the visually impaired in the society.
“It is a pity that in Nigeria, members of the public still do not assist the visually challenged and in many cases people tend to treat them as unwanted persons. In other countries of the world, most people have been exposed to public enlightenment programmes and therefore know their responsibility to the blind,” he said.
He explained further that the White Cane Day is a universal symbol with which the visually challenged persons are recognized in the society simply means when people see them with a white cane , they should recognize them as being visually impaired or blind and it is everyone’s responsibility to lend a helping hand.
“Help him/her to cross the road, warn him/her of obstacles or dangers ahead, assist in getting in and out of public transportation. The list of support the public can give is endless”, he said.
The Chairman said the Vocational Training Centre runs a two-year course for visually impaired adults, adolescents in braille reading, typewriting, mobility, handicrafts, soap making, tie &dye and computer.
He said the Centre also runs a special one year course for professionals and special persons who just need to adjust to their new predicament in order to be able to return to normal life and continue with their professional or vocational calling.
“We now have an active after-graduation programme and we have an officer who is constantly in touch with them and who monitors their progress. We have started a Co-operative Society programme. The ever rising cost of running our programmes which now stands at N5million per month is a big task for us and it has become imperative to ask for more public support”, he said.
He said the Society is in the process of introducing a special programme for the rehabilitation and training of Older visually impaired persons, those who because of age cannot come to the Centre for training , the Society will arrange training for them in their various abode.