celebrates WHITE CANE DAY 2009
visitors tried out the obstacle course blindfolded with a cane
The Hindu, Saturday, Oct 17, 200
eyes have it
The White Cane Day at IISE
was an eye-opener
the Dark is unlike any restaurant you would ever come across. The food
but there is a catch. You don’t get to see your food, instead you’ve
feel and smell (and even hear) your food, for inside the cafe; it’s
Welcome to the world of the visually-impaired, where you have all other
to rely on except your eyesight.
Cane Day (October 15) at the International Institute for Social
(IISE), Vellayani, visitors were given the opportunity to experience
what it means to be visually-impaired. And what an eye-opener that was!
blindfolding ourselves we felt, heard and smelled our way through an
course, learnt the rudiments of Braille, played Topfschlagen (a
while blindfolded), got professional foot and neck massages from Hosni
Saudi Arabia and Kyila from China – two enterprising visually-impaired
and watched a hilarious skit presented by Mohammad from Sierra Leone,
from Kenya and Sahr from Liberia. Then, even without blindfolds, we had
grope our way to dine at the one-of-a-kind Café in the Dark.
would never realise how much of a battle mundane activities are for the
visually-impaired until you actually experience it for yourself,” say
and Hans Gehrge from Germany, who were seen enthusiastically
all the activities for the “seeing.” Navin Ramachandran, a well-wisher
part-time faculty member at IISE, adds: “It was indeed a profound
have all your faculties about you except your eyesight. But you realise
your other senses quickly take over and compensate for your eyesight.
instance, to get from the entrance of the Café in the Dark to
the table, my
feet, my hands and my mind became my eyes, with only the voice of Jessy
visually impaired hostess – and a rope lying on the floor to guide the
says that during his “stint as a visually-impaired person” he noticed
tended to stoop. The obstacle course too was an equally startling
for visitors. Armed with only a white cane we tapped our way through
obstacles strewn across the path (to stimulate the daily challenges
the visually-impaired). “It was quite difficult to navigate. And that’s
seeing for myself what obstacles lie ahead,” says Shankar Krishnan, a
consultant. “I have a new found respect for visually-impaired; for the
challenges they face,” say Yuriko Matsukawa from London, and
architect who was capturing all the action on his camera.
children too it was an eye-opener. As students from Trivandrum
School found out, it was very difficult to paint an egg when you don’t
your vision. The children from the Trivandrum Blind School beat them at
event was an attempt to create awareness about the importance of the
says Sabriye Tenberken, co-founder of Braille Without Borders and IISE.
white cane is seen by the majority of the visually-impaired as
something to be
ashamed of; something that draws attention to their impairment.
actually stands for independence, confidence and empowerment. I, for
be lost without my white cane,” she adds.
was certainly a revelation for those in the dark about the grit of the
Article courtesy of The Hindu
Others enjoyed a medical
The basics of Braille were
explained and taught in the Braille Workshop
The audience enjoyed the
play that was performed showing the importance of the white cane
White cane dat 15-OCT-2009