The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

White cane; symbol of freedom, confidence for blinds


15th of October is usually marked as White Cane Day every year around the world. The day, as an international awareness raising event, celebrates the importance of the white cane and promotes a safe environment for long cane users. The date is also set aside to celebrate the achievements of people who are blind or visually impaired and the important symbol of blindness and tool of independence, the white cane.
The White Cane was invented in 1930 by Lion George Bonham in the United States of America, as a walking instrument for the blinds to enable them to move freely and independently and detect obstacles in their way.
Since the invention of the White Cane, it has become a significant instrument to the blind. It serves as a traffic sign and pleads for safety to the police, motorists and pedestrians, urging them to show to the blind the right way.
The white cane also helps the blinds have access to all types of public transportation. This device detects obstacles in the way of the blind and acts as an international symbol of blindness, calling for help wherever and whenever the user finds it difficult to move freely.
Through advocacy of the World Blind Union on the rights of the blind, the 15th day of October of every year was set by the United Nations to be observed worldwide by all blind and partially-sighted persons. It demonstrates the significance of the White Cane to the blinds in the social and economic aspects of their life. 
Also, the day is an appropriate opportunity for the blinds to stage programs and speak out for their rights, and to petition parliaments and governments to enact and enforce laws for protection as well as the general well-being and welfare of the blind.
In Afghanistan, due to war, poverty, air pollution and lack of access of Afghan people to health centers, there are 450,000 blinds, while 1.5 million people facing deficiency in sight based on WHO toll.
Although some assistance has been provided to blinds, but there are still problems facing Afghan blinds in various cultural, economic and scientific sections. Steps which have been taken during the past 15 years for education, training, health as well as for addressing problems of this part of society have not been considerable.
A number of blinds and those with vision impairment are complaining of people for their behavior and of government for not paying attention to their rights, saying that the government should not ignore their part in government institutions as mentioned in World Convention for people with disability. The government is responsible to convince blinds and those with impaired vision to take part in government affairs so that they can get busy in development of the country.
Lailuma Noori

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.