Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The visually impaired have a lot to offer others

Speakers at a discussion yesterday reiterated the need for building awareness about the use of white cane by visually impaired people to ensure their safe movement. They also called for adequate supply of necessary equipments for blind people to help turn them into manpower.The discussion was organised jointly by the Ministry of Social Welfare, National Foundation for the Development of Disabled Persons and National Forum of Organisations Working with the Disabled (NFOWD) at the auditorium of the Directorate of Social Services marking the World White Cane Safety Day.

In his welcome address, AHM Noman Khan, general secretary of NFOWD, said the celebration of the Day across the world symbolises a common platform for people with all forms of disabilities along with visually impaired to raise voice for their rights.He urged all to extend their helping hands in ensuring adequate supply of equipments like braille books, special educational institutes, white canes and reservation of seats in public vehicles.

He congratulated the young people with disabilities who earned laurels through their outstanding performances at the special Olympic held in China recently.In his keynote paper, Monsur Ahmed Chowdhury, NFOWD chairman of Policy and Legal Affairs Committee, explained the background of the Day.He said leaders of the International Federation of the Blind organised an international conference for the first time in 1969 in Colombo, Sri Lanka where different proposals were adopted regarding social development, education, training, and safe movement of the blind people.

One of the proposals was to observe the World White Cane Safety Day every year on October 15 to promote awareness about the basic needs of people with visual impairment, he added.The Ministry of Social Welfare has been observing the Day since 1996 in association with the NFOWD. Hafizul Islam Mia, director general of social services directorate, laid emphasis on raising awareness about the use of white cane.He also called for comprehensive approach for the overall development of people with disability.

Social Welfare Secretary MA Hai Howlader, Bangladesh Blind Mission Visual Trainer-cum-Braille-in-charge Fahima Khatun and NFOWD Assistant General Secretary M Khalilur Rahman also took part in the discussion presided over by NFOWD President Khandaker Zahurul Alam.A total of 200 white canes were handed over to 12 member organisations of the Directorate of Social Services, University of Dhaka and NFOWD for distributing among the blind students and persons on the occasion.On account of Eid-ul-Fitr vacation, the World White Cane Safety Day was not observed on the due date.


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