Blind Association hosts training

The Samoa Blind Persons Association has run training in the community focusing on orientation and mobility and includes practice on the use of the white cane.

The training was part of the Nuanua o le Alofa (N.O.L.A) community training which kicked off at the beginning of the week at the Millenia Hotel at Sogi.

An S.B.P.A. member Ari Hazelman told the Samoa Observer on Thursday that most of the attendees at the training are new members of the association, mainly parents of children who are blind.

He said it is important for them to be introduced to the concept of orientation mobility, which is the ability to be able to orient oneself to one environment, and having the ability to be mobile from one area to another independently.

Asked about the significance of the white cane, Mr. Hazelman said it is an international symbol for a blind person and for the public to be aware.

The white cane can also be used as a guide to indicate to a blind person what is in front of him or her.

He added that it helps to facilitate people to move from one place to another more independently.

Mr. Hazelman said one of their simulation exercises is to blindfold some of the participants of the training to experience what life is like living as a blind person.

And he believes that with this idea participants will have more passion to advocate on behalf of their children and family members who are blind and to understand and have more empathy towards people who are blind while helping them achieve their goals.

Training on how to read and write in braille was held throughout the week with Mr. Hazelman explaining that the feedback has been good and parents are amazed at how the writing system was invented.

Mr. Hazelman then acknowledged the support of the Ministry of Women Community and Social Development, Samoa Disability Partnership Programme, the Government of Australia and the members and new members of the S.B.P.A.

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