BLIND and visually-impaired people need to be recognised and accepted as equals in society.
This was the message from Lautoka special administrator Praveen Bala at the launch of the 2013 Western Division White Cane Awareness program yesterday.
"We, the visually-able, must remind ourselves that our blind or visually-impaired brothers and sisters deserve to be treated as normal, understood as equal and valued as important contributors to society," Mr Bala said.
Rakesh Chand, a visually-impaired advocate for the social acceptance of people living with disabilities said it was important that people took extra care when encountering blind or visually-impaired people.
"When you see someone with a white cane, offer assistance if you can and be careful not to trip on the white cane because many of us cannot afford to replace them if they are damaged," he said.
Pacific Fried Chicken managing director Kishore Chetty said the launch of the White Cane program was held at his restaurant because he felt obliged to do something for those who were marginalised and at times, mocked by the public.
"My restaurant will become their office on the first Sunday of every month and I will be hosting a series of programs to boost their profile in Lautoka."