Inaugural ‘Eye Can Walk’ triumphant

2017-11-07 06:00
Maya Patel and Nadia Francis (front) with participants at the White Cane Rally.

Maya Patel and Nadia Francis (front) with participants at the White Cane Rally.

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THE KZN Blind and Deaf Society’s inaugural Eye Can Walk 5km fun “walk with a difference” took place on October 15. The date was significant, as it was both International White Cane Day and Eye Care Awareness month.

Three hundred participants lined up at Berea Rovers in pairs, with one person blindfolded and the other person leading (with a reversal of roles half way).

They then proceeded towards Blue Lagoon via the beachfront, finally returning to Rovers.

A separate 1km White Cane Rally took place for 100 blind participants who came from areas as far as Upper Highway, Umlazi, KwaMashu, Pinetown and Pietermaritzburg, amid much singing. Their route merged with the 5km route.

This event would not have been possible without the collaboration between the KZN Blind and Deaf Society and eThekwini Municipality.

Placards were provided by the municipality with slogans such as “Independence is a Lifestyle” and “Make Way! Blind People Crossing”, which helped to create awareness about the use of a white cane as a tool of independence, as well as the importance for the public to consider blind people on the road.

The importance of eye care and prevention of diseases related to vision was also emphasised during the event, and health screening services were made available by Ophthalmologist, Dr Kavi Naidu as well as the eThekweni Municipality Health Department, who performed free blood pressure, blood sugar and HIV/Aids screenings.

A song was sung by Sikhulile Mthethwa, who is partially blind.

Refreshments provided by the eThekwini Municipality and other key sponsors ensured that participants were well catered for.

At only R50 per person, thanks to many generous sponsors, participants were given a free T-shirt, bandana and blindfold, as well as pin-on badges to commemorate the event.

Besides the fun of the walk, various food stalls and entertainment were on offer.

Shamila Surjoo, director of the KZNBDS, explained why the blindfold was used by participants.

“We had peepholes on the blindfolds so that participants did not feel at a total loss. The objective was for them to experience partial vision loss and thus identify with those who have little or no vision.”

If you would like to be added to the KZNBDS mailing list, to be notified of future events, email director@ bdskzn.org.za

- Supplied

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