High Cost of White Canes Worries Blind People in Nigeria



As the world celebrates International white Cane Awareness Day on October 15, 2023, the Nigerian Association of Blind has expressed deep concern on the soaring prices of white cane sticks across the country.

The price surge is attributed to the fluctuation in foreign exchange rates, particularly the value of the naira-to-dollar and other foreign currencies required for importing white canes into Nigeria.

Mallam Ibrahim Abubakar, the Chairman of the Kaduna State Association of the Blind, made this statement during a group discussion with members at the Kaduna Rehabilitation Board as part of activities to commemorate this year's World International White Cane Awareness Day.

Abubakar highlighted the challenges faced by blind men, women, and children who often resort to using makeshift sticks or wooden supports instead of the proper white cane due to the prohibitively high cost. 

He noted that the price of white canes in Nigeria ranges from 15,000 to 20,000 Nigerian Naira, making it unaffordable for many economically disadvantaged blind individuals.

"White canes play a pivotal role in enabling people who are blind, DeafBlind, or visually impaired to navigate the world safely and independently". 

Abubakar emphasized, "The ability to move through one's environment and travel without relying on a sighted person is of paramount importance for someone's independence and empowerment."

"The white cane primarily empowers users to scan their surroundings for obstacles or orientation cues. It also serves as a visual identifier to onlookers, signifying that the individual is blind or visually impaired and may require assistance" Abubakar added.

Additionally, Mrs. Queen David, an adviser to the Blind Association of Nigeria appealed to organizations like, Rotary international clubs, UNICEF, WHO, and child protection organizations, both state and federal governments and Network of Peace Journalists (NPJ) to assist   them by providing  with white canes. 

She stressed the importance of enabling these individuals to walk freely and independently, just like any other member of society.

She said, "This year, International White Cane Day coincided with International Sight Day 2023 emphasizing the need for global awareness and support in protecting the lives of blind children". 

Mrs. David also appealed for Braille typing machines to be made available in all special schools, catering to blind children across the 36 states of Nigeria

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