Dr. Christiana Akinrinmade, the Chief Executive Officer of Divine Chris Ken Creativity and Founder, Hope Builders for Physically Challenged Foundation, has joined the visually impaired community around the world to mark the 2023 Cane Day, urging Nigerians to support the Blind.
Akinrinmade, in a press statement issued by Dayo Emmanuel, also called on the Nigerian government to take the issues of citizens living with visual impairment with uttermost attention going by the nature of their disability.
The visually impaired entrepreneur who recently with her organisation marked Nigeria’s 63rd independence anniversary, said, “the celebration is to remind various stakeholders of empathy for the blind and not sympathy. We are not to be pitied but to be loved.”
Stating further, she said, “The importance of the White Cane Day is for people who can see always to assist us when they see us holding the white cane we use to navigate our ways.
“So, celebrating White Cane Day is simply a call to support the blind community globally,” she said.
In the same vein, the National President of the Nigerian Association of the Blind, Abdulhakeem Lawal, said, the celebration holds a great importance in the community of visually impaired persons.
“We gather to celebrate White Cane Day, a day that holds great importance in our hearts. It is a day to raise awareness about the challenges faced by persons with visual impairments and highlight the significance of the white cane as a symbol of independence and mobility,” he said.
Continuing, he said, “White Cane Day is not merely an occasion for celebration, but a stark reminder of the barriers and obstacles that individuals with visual impairments confront on a daily basis.
“It is a day that calls for unity and support, not only from within our community but from the broader society as well,” he said.
Discussing further on the significance of the white cane, Lawal said, “The white cane serves as an emblem of freedom, allowing visually impaired individuals to navigate the world with confidence and dignity. It is a tool that empowers them to overcome obstacles and lead independent lives. On this day, let us recognise the tremendous importance of the white cane in enhancing the lives of the blind in Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, he said, it is not enough to celebrate the white cane alone.
“We must call upon the government, non-governmental organizations, and all members of our society to rise up to the challenge confronting persons with visual impairments in Nigeria. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that the blind have equal access to education, employment, healthcare, and all the opportunities others enjoy,” he said.
He however called on all stakeholders to support people living with visual impairment. “All hands must be on deck to alleviate the sufferings of the blind and enhance their welfare. We must strive to make the world a better place for them, a place where they can achieve their full potential and live without the limitations imposed by their visual impairment,” he urged.