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Your R50 can help buy a cane for a visually impaired person

by ballyhooglobal.com
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Lindiwe Tshabalala’s story is a testament to the impact of the support provided by the South African Guide Association (Sagda) Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Department’s Give a Cane Campaign.

This is a national initiative, and the goal is to raise R550 000 to buy canes for 500 visually impaired people.

By donating a minimum of R50 to the campaign, which runs until July 18, you can help the association uphold its commitment to freedom and independence. Your contribution will help it train more clients, like Lindiwe, and provide more assistive devices.

Lindiwe’s story
At 15, Lindiwe’s sight and hearing began to deteriorate. She is currently partially sighted and deaf. Despite this, she studied to become a teacher and is employed at the Ekurhuleni School for the Deaf, where she teaches young children.

Navigating her route from home to work presented several challenges. Recognising her need for specialised help, the Gauteng Education Department of Transformation referred her to the O&M Department. Her case was assigned to Mandla Mathebula, the O&M practitioner in her area.

Training Lindiwe posed a unique challenge for Mandla because it was his first experience working with a deaf and partially sighted client.

Lindiwe’s primary goal was to learn how to use the cane effectively so she could safely and independently walk the route from home to school. The pair embarked on a journey of mutual learning and trust, determined to overcome these obstacles together.

Explaining the various cane techniques was challenging because of Lindiwe’s hearing impairment, but a sign language interpreter from the Ekurhuleni School for the Deaf bridged this gap.

She was given a cane with a rolling tip, carefully chosen to suit her condition. This feature allowed her to keep in contact with the ground at all times so that the vibrations from different surfaces and passing cars could be interpreted to aid her navigation.

Mandla also taught Lindiwe essential visual skills, like positioning herself correctly at traffic lights to discern the colours on the opposite side, ensuring she crossed safely.

When asked what the white cane meant to her, she said with heartfelt clarity, “I understand the need for my cane and especially the freedom of movement it gives me.”

Visit www.guidedog.org.za to learn more about the campaign and how to set up your fundraising page.

Alternatively, email NicoleB@guidedog.org.za to discuss ideas or learn more about how to help the association.

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