NYAMAGABE- The head of the Rwanda Union of the Blind (RUB), Patrick Sudi, has called on Rwandans to respect the White cane and always help people with visual impairments.
Sudi made the remarks while speaking on the International Day of the White cane that was celebrated in Nyamagabe District, last Friday.
The day of the White cane is internationally celebrated on October 15 every year.
Several people with visual impairments who gathered for the function appealed to the government to make the white cane affordable, saying it’s the only tool that helps them move freely.
As part of the event, sector executive secretaries, officials in charge of social affairs and district staff in Nyamagabe, attended a three-day awareness workshop on the White cane and rights of people with disabilities.
“White cane is our eyes. No person wishes his eye to be harmed by his neighbour so let us protect these blind people by respecting their cane. It calls on the part of more attention for drivers and other road users,” Sudi told participants.
He added that due to the high price of the white cane (about US $30 each), access to the cane has been a challenge for most people with visual impairments in Rwanda, especially those in rural areas.
“But RUB in conjunction with the government is doing its best to help its members to access the cane. We are going to work with the government to ensure that the white cane can be covered by the community health insurance (mutuel de santé),” Sudi said.
“We do not think government will deny our request.”
During the ceremony, Pierre Claver Rwaka, an MP representing people living with disabilities, affirmed his commitment to advocate for the rights of people living with disabilities.
A national awareness campaign on the white cane is required for better understanding of the rights of blind people, he said.
He appealed to property owners to always consider people with visual impairments while constructing their buildings or parking yards.
The day was marked under the theme “Know and respect the White cane”.