White Cane day for the 10th time in Rwanda

The Rwanda Union of the Blind-RUB will celebrate the International White Cane day, which takes place each year on October 15 worldwide and serves to highlight the significance of the white cane as a tool of independence for blind and visually impaired. In Rwanda, the International White Cane day celebration 2018 will be celebrated for the 10th time on this Wednesday, 24th October in Gisagara District-Southern province under the theme ‘respecting the white cane; supporting persons with visual impairment’.

Since 2009, Rwanda Union of the Blind-RUB celebrates the white cane day in order to honor the many achievements registered by blind and visually impaired people, recognize the white cane’s significance in advancing independence and raise awareness in public.

Since the invention of the White Cane, the white cane has been used as a walking instrument for the blind to enable them to move freely and independently and detect obstacles in their way. It serves as traffic sign and pleads for safety to the motorists and pedestrians, urging them to show to the blind the right way. This device helps blind people to detect obstacles and acts as an international symbol of blindness, calling for help wherever and whenever the user finds it difficult to move freely.

The white cane is recognized as a symbol of independence, a sign of autonomy and respect for the inherent dignity for the blind and partially sighted persons which is in line with Article 3 of the principles enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The White cane is also in line with the obligations stipulated under Article 9 of the CRPD on accessibility, Article 20 on mobility and sustainable development goal number 11 on accessible cities and human settlements.

 

However, one of the key challenges is that white canes are too expensive and not affordable to most blind persons in Rwanda. Even when blind and partially sighted persons have white canes, they continue to face significant barriers during their movements. These barriers include: lack of safe, right of way while crossing roads and accessible spaces that are user friendly as well as lack of tactile markers that facilitate the use of a white cane.

 

Objectives of the White Cane day celebration this year, is  to help Rwandan society to be aware of the white cane and respect it as an important tool in helping blind and visually impaired people live with greater independence and mobility , honor the many achievements registered by Rwandan blind and visually impaired people and share with the Rwandan community and the rest of the world, the major challenges that people with visual impairment are facing due to lack of white canes.

The celebration will be graced with the white cane demonstration march, goal ball demonstration, exhibition of different items made by persons with visual impairment, poems, music and speeches.

 

Join us to celebrate and acknowledge the independence and mobility of blind and visually impaired people in Rwanda.

For further information, please contact:

 

Rachel Musabyimana

Advocacy& Communications Officer, Rwanda Union of the Blind

Tel:+250788779104/

Email: nyurwa@rub-ura.org or

nyurwa@gmail.com

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