NIGERWIVES CELEBRATES WITH THE BLIND ON WHITE CANE DAY
BY Chika Mefor
(Culled from Leadership Newspaper, October 24, 2012)
The 2012 White Cane Day was celebrated (on October 20, 2012) in great style in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) School for the Blind, Jabi. The White Cane Day is observed in many parts of the world to celebrate the achievement of people who are blind and visually impaired and the important symbol of blindness and tool of independence which is the white cane.
The event which involved a bazaar, a raffle draw and and a food fair was made possible by the Nigerwives Nigeria, Abuja Branch. The Nigerwives is an association of foreigner married to Nigerians. According to the president of the organization, Elisabeth Pasztor-Bada, the association has decided to celebrate the event with the visually impaired every year so as to give them a sense of belonging.
“It is all about recognizing the blind and the impaired. It is all about finding their way about with the white cane that represents them. We have been celebrating with the School for the Blind every single year, since 2006. We usually organize the bazaar and the fund raising for them,” she said.
Pasztor Bada stated that the association, apart from celebrating every year with the blind and visually impaired, has also conducted reading classes for the students every Saturday to make them improve in their learning, adding that the association donates Braille books to the school to help in their education.
“We have adopted them. We want to bring publicity to the need of the blind and visually impaired. They have special needs, they achieve a lot. At the same time, they special education and they need Braille books. Our Braille book production centre in Lagos issue Braille books to them. Last year, we also organized a computer centre for them,” she added.
Expressing her appreciation to the association, the Head Teacher of the school, Regina Dum, said the association has always been there for the school adding that they have provided Braille books, uniforms and sandals to the students.
“They have also equipped the computer lab with six computers. They have trained our teachers on how to use them. During the last vacation, they trained students from both here and Kwali,” noting that since the inception of the school, the government celebrated this special day with them only once in 2008 adding that the Nigerwives have celebrated this special day with them consecutively for the past six years.
Dum who discloses that most of her students arrive at the school not knowing how to speak the English language, stated that her students have improved a great deal in their reading because of the help of the Nigerwives who come every Saturday to teach them.
“They have been doing this alone. The teachers are quite happy. The students are happy too. Nigerwives makes them feel loved and gives them a sense of belonging,” she noted.
The event which ended with a raffle draw, had the Australian High Commissioner Ian McConville thrilling the students and guest with some music. He said: “I am proud to be associated with the Nigerwives as they support the School for the Blind. Blind and partially impaired persons are special people who understand the beauty of music a great deal. So we have brought music to share with them.”
A team from the Japanese Embassy led by Michiaki Hatakenakaw as also there to thrill the kids with water balloon game.
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