Kenya’s largest telco Safaricom has joined the Kenya Union of the Blind (KUB), Kenya Society for the Blind (KSB) and AYUDH Kenya in supporting 100 visually impaired persons with white canes to mark White Cane Safety Day.
The visually impaired persons are among beneficiaries of the ‘White Cane Campaign’ where the telco aims to distribute white canes to 20,000 blind and visually impaired persons across the country.
So far, more than 1,000 white canes have been distributed in Kiandutu, Kerugoya, Nyeri, Machakos, Kitui, Kakamega, Kisumu and Bungoma.
“The white cane is a symbol of safety, freedom, independence, and confidence for visually impaired persons. We appreciate the support of our partners and our donors in helping us reach every corner of Kenya to assist visually impaired persons during these unprecedented times,” said Tanya Martin, Goodwill Ambassador, AYUDH Kenya.
Beneficiaries of the white canes were also provided with food hampers from the M-PESA Foundation.
“As we mark White Cane Safety, our goal is to ensure that all the blind and visually impaired individuals in this country have access to white canes. This is part of our effort towards mainstreaming disability inclusion and in line with Sustainable Development Goal 10 on reducing inequalities,” said Paul Kasimu, Chief Human Resources Officer, Safaricom.
Safaricom’s white cane campaign also entails a registration exercise in partnership with KUB and KSB through USSD *678#.
The exercise seeks to create a database of visually impaired persons across all 47 counties to help them get access to specialized government services.
“The White Cane Safety Day is commemorated every year to recognize the achievements of blind and visually impaired persons across the world.
“It is also marked to create awareness on the white cane as an enabler of independence and an important symbol for blindness and I call upon more organisations to join this effort towards addressing the availability and affordability of white canes,” said Samson Waweru, Chairman, Kenya Society for the Blind.
As part of the campaign, over 1000 blind and visually impaired persons from Mombasa, Isiolo, Kisii, Nakuru, Kericho, West Pokot, Kwale, Meru and Garissa counties are set to receive the assistive devices in the coming days as Safaricom marks 20 years of transforming lives.