Can you believe it! More than a quarter of South Africa’s population of 57 million lives in Gauteng Province – it’s smallest province. And so, get this. a quarter of our blind population live here too. But can they get white cane training? Can they learn to get themselves to places without asking for help from others? Well, now they can. Once they couldn’t though. Here’s what happened.
We, SAMBT, got a call from the Provincial Department of Health in Gauteng asking for a meeting. They were concerned that they could not provide rehabilitation services for blind people in Gauteng and there were no local organisations for the blind doing it either. We though, they discovered, will go anywhere and everywhere in South Africa where there are blind people who can’t get this life changing training. They came to the right people.
And so it was that the partnership between SAMBT and the Gauteng Department of Health began. That was back in 2008.
Since then, nearly 700 blind people’s lives in Gauteng have been turned around. Also and most importantly, those people know that somebody cares. Their families also know this and they too can see and feel that big change.
And even as we speak, we are training more blind people in Gauteng to become independent – to be free – to take their white cane and go where they want to go and when. This is no small thing.
And we would like to thank those two people from the Gauteng Department of Health, who would not like to have their names mentioned here, for their care and insight when they first approached us for our help and for their wrestling with the bureaucracy to bring this training to the blind people of Gauteng. We salute them. They have done the human thing.
You too can do the human thing with a contribution, however small – the cost of a hamburger – to help blind people in other provinces where there is no such help forthcoming from government. Please do.
I say this as a blind person myself and as the Managing Trustee of SAMBT. Bless you for reading this.