15th October is celebrated as International White Cane Safety Awareness Day. White Cane enable users with vision impairment to walk independently. It offers indication if there are any obstacles in front of them. There ae traditional white canes which comes in variety of models such as long cane, folding cane, cane that comes with a ball that rolls. It comes in various sizes too. Today, there are also smart canes that not only detects objects on the floor but also detects and alert if there are objects at face level.
While these assistive aids are available, in many countries, it’s still difficult for people with vision impairment to move around independently. Why is that? Because it’s due to lack of accessible infrastructure. In some countries, foot paths doesn’t exist; even when they exist, we will see uneven path ways, someone selling goods etc., At the traffic signals, some people doesn’t follow rules. In urban areas, due to increased traffic, at many places, it’s difficult to cross roads and we don’t see footever bridges.
It’s not about accessibility of public places but even offices, residential buildings, all of these need to be accessible. In the modern apartments, we see elevators that has floor buttons in a touch panel without any alternate method. Accessibility needs to be considered for everything including entertainment.
On this day, let’s all write to various stakeholders and raise awareness about importance of having right infrastructure and how it can create positive impact on people.