THE white cane used by the visually impaired is very important to help them to move around safely.
The cane is relied on by the blind to navigate their way and detect obstacles while walking, said Ryenaath Ganesan, 20, a Form Six student at St John Institution (SJI) when met at the Malaysian Association For The Blind (MAB).
He was among 100 recipients of a white cane in conjunction with the White Cane Safety Day 2021.
“I have glaucoma and went blind when I was 15. It was a challenging period but I am in a better position now.
“The challenge is always when I go to unfamiliar places. I have fallen into drains because I was not able to navigate well.
“My dream is to own an electronic white cane, which costs about RM1,000.
“The more advanced white canes have GPS navigation and motion sensors. The stick is able to detect objects such as walls and water.
“A good cane will enable us to move safely,” said Ryenaath, who is from Ipoh, Perak, and stays in a hostel.
The event was a collaboration between MAB and the Ladies Council of the All Malaysia Malayalee Association (Amma).
Amma donated 100 white canes to students of SJI, SM Khas Kebangsaan Setapak, Kinta Valley Training Centre in Ipoh, Taman Harapan Training Centre in Temerloh and 20 blind individuals in Kuala Lumpur.
MAB general manager George Thomas said the white canes were important to the blind, and that the canes were mostly imported from India and Hong Kong.
“The cane wears out and needs to be repaired or replaced often, and it is important for the blind.
“We appreciate this donation and hope more people will come forward to assist the blind,” he added.
White Cane Day project coordinator Thavasothy S. Mailvaganam Pillai, who was born blind, said the public should learn ways to assist a blind person.
“When helping the blind, do not hold the white cane.
“Instead introduce yourself, then allow the blind to hold your arm if they need to move somewhere,” he advised.