International White Cane Day is celebrated annually on 15 October, honouring the achievements of visually impaired individuals. It also serves to commemorate the “white cane” as a symbol for blindness and a tool for independence.
This year World Sight Day was commemorated on 11 October and for the past few years the South African National Council for the Blind has hosted a fun walk to mark both occasions but this event has never been hosted in Port Elizabeth.
Together, the S.A. National Council for the Blind, Port Elizabeth Eye and Laser Institute and the Port Elizabeth Provincial Ophthalmology Department joined hands to host the walk this year on Saturday 13 October at the NMMU B Rugby Field in Port Elizabeth.
This event aimed to increase awareness of the meaning of the “white cane” to visually impaired individuals and the visually impaired were encouraged to walk with their guide dogs or mobility canes while sighted people were encouraged to wear blindfolds. After the event all the participants, both visually impaired and sighted, had time to meet and network during a picnic to further raise awareness.