Theft a concern for Lofob

2019-03-12 06:01

The League of Friends of the Blind (Lofob) in Grassy Park is outraged by yet another blind person falling prey to crime.

The incident occurred after a 20-year-old resident at the Lofob residential facility was threatened with a knife, held at gunpoint and stripped of his personal belongings which included a pair of low vision spectacles used to aid his reduced vision. The incident occurred while the visually impaired youth made his way back to the centre after attending night school in the area.

A study by the centre for Justice and Crime Prevention released in 2009 indicated that 47% of crime impacting on youth happens at school and that many feared travelling to and from school.

According to a Lofob spokesperson, this too is the experience of blind and visually impaired youth who wish to practice their freedom of choice to move about freely and independently in their community.

“As an organisation advocating for the independence and integration of blind people into society, Lofob is gravely concerned about the increase in crime in the community as blind people’s safety is in jeopardy,” said Dr Armand Bam, executive director of Lofob. He added that this then results in blind people having to depend on metered taxis, which can then become unaffordable because most of them have to live off state social grants.

Dial-A-Ride, the local government subsidised transport service for persons with disabilities is unpopular amongst Lofob clients as many of them are rejected due to the service mainly catering for people with physical and multiple disabilities and because many blind people are considered mobile due to their training in orientation and mobility.

“It is not ideal for blind people to have to resort to expensive and inaccessible transport services, our wish is for safer communities where blind people can practice the independence gained through orientation and mobility training,” Bam said.

V For more information contact Lofob’s manager for services to youth and adults, Heidi Volkwijn on 021 705 3753.

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