Guide dog foundation pays the President a visit
President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca yesterday welcomed the Malta Guide Dogs Foundation to San Anton Palace on the occasion of International White Cane Safety Day, which was celebrated yesterday. The MGDF delegation was composed of its chairman Leone Sciberras, events co-ordinator Merle Whale and guide dog user Joseph Vella.
The President, a long-time supporter of the foundation and its various initiatives, stressed the importance of focusing on people’s abilities and urged the foundation to continue working on building awareness so that the public would come forward and benefit from the free services the foundation offers.
Mr Sciberras briefed the President on the foundation’s work, the significance of International White Cane Safety Day and how the foundation works with people with avisual impairment to help them live an independent life in society.
Learning to use the white cane can be an aim in itself but, for those who wish to have a guide dog, learning general orientation and mobility skills and the use of the white cane is a prerequisite to being given a guide dog.
Mr Vella explained how his guide dog enabled him to be more independent after he had used the white cane both in his work and in getting around the University of Malta as he pursues further studies there.
Ms Whale then read out a poem, written by 11-year-old Samuel Farrugia especially for the day. The
The poem 11-year-old Samuel Farrugia wrote on the occasion of International White Cane Safety Day: “I may be blind “but neither deaf nor dumb. “I cannot fly a plane “But I can use my white cane “I can be a Vet or an engineer. “I will never sit around “And mould my ear with the television.
“I will get up and go out in the world “And do things in my life “Even though I am blind.”
Malta Guide Dogs Foundation, apart from having training Samuel to use the white cane, has also given him additional Orientation and Mobility training to help him find his way around his new school.
President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca with Malta Guide Dogs Foundation chairman Leone Sciberras (right) and guide dog user Joseph Vella at San Anton Palace yesterday