By Kesah Princely and Ngome Michael, in Buea.
Persons with visual impairment in the North West and South West regions have called on road users to respect the White Cane, and consider them as fellow active road users.
They decried the fact that some road users have remained ignorant of the significance of the White Cane — a mobility aid — thereby sidelining persons with visual impairment as active road users.
This was on Thursday October 15, commemorated as the International White Cane Day.
In separate but simultaneous activities in the two English speaking regions, associations of persons with visual impairment took to the streets unravelling the mystery behind the White Cane.
Speaking to TWIF News in Buea this Thursday, the President of the Coordinating Unit of Associations of Persons with Disabilities (CUAPWD) South West, Agbor Valarie Orock, intimated that visual impairment is not contagious.
Meanwhile, Mr. Agbor Valerie also said that “CUAPWD schooled road users on the need to respect the various signs of the White Cane.”
The disability leader added that it was about time taxi drivers understood that persons with visual impairment needed to be given some respect on the highway.
This, Mr. Agbor said, would help these persons to enjoy a high degree of freedom, independence and confidence in their day- to-day life.
A similar message was echoed in Bamenda by the President of the Hope Social Union for the Visually Impaired (HSUVI). Ngong Peter Tonain called on the government to fast track disability mainstreaming through the construction of inclusive road networks.
He equally entreated his peers with visual impairment to make efficient use of the white Canes in order to mitigate the number of accidents on Cameroonian highways.
Meantime, several persons received mobility canes in Anglophone Cameroon. Through these canes, it is believed awareness among road users will be heightened.
“The Cane is a weapon that could be very harmful if used wrongly,” noted Shuh Patrick, a Buea-based disability advocate.
“But if you make the best out of it, you will achieve very positive results,” he added.
As the International White Cane Day for 2020 becomes history, it is hoped that road stakeholders develop a positive mind towards disability inclusion.
The pains brought about by the ongoing Anglophone crisis according to many a person with visual impairment, should not be added by the non-respect of the white Cane.
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