Visual impairment in the spotlight
The Lesotho National League of the Visually Impaired Persons (LNLVIP) has dedicated the month of March to raising awareness of visual impairment, the league’s President Mabataung Khetsi has said.
Ms Khetsi said the awareness campaign was part of efforts to introduce a locally-initiated programme separate from the “White Cane Safety Day” held every second Thursday of October annually.
“The campaign is going to be a nationwide because we believe that Basotho need to be reached in all corners so that the message can spread,” Ms Khetsi said.
“Our aim is to try to ensure there are no increases in the number of visually-impaired people in the country. We want the numbers to reduce rather than increase.”
The campaign will see LNLVIP officials visiting schools and churches across the country to conscietise Basotho on the challenges associated with visual impairment.
“We plan to visit various institutions around the country such as churches and schools to teach young people the proper ways to look after their eyes and prevent blindness,” said Ms Khetsi.
“We also intend to speak with able-bodied students to teach them how to take care of visually-impaired students in their midst.
“During this month, our focus will not only be on prevention but also on procedures one could follow if he or she becomes visually impaired.”
She added that LNLVIP had made strides in advocating for the rights of the visually-impaired in the communities.
“We now have schools which offer Braille classes for visuallyimpaired people as well as training them to get around without too much of a struggle,” said Khetsi.
She said the campaign, which will be held on an annual basis, will culminate in the league taking their programme to Members of Parliament (MPS).
“We plan to end our campaign with MPS who we will also teach about preventing visual impairment. We will also appeal to them to formulate laws and policies that protect the rights of visually impaired people and the rights of people with disabilities in general,” Ms Khetsi said.
The LNLVIP is funded by the Norwegian Association of the blind and partially sighted.