Vis­ual im­pair­ment in the spot­light

Lesotho Times - - News - Lim­pho Sello

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.

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