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    Helping the blind get around Kywangwali

    Day 245

    A White Cane

    It can be hard to be a refugee, and it can be hard to live with a disability. But imagine dealing with both challenges – living with a disability in a refugee settlement like Kyangwali in Uganda.

    The blind in Kyangwali struggle on a daily basis. It’s hard to get from place to place across uneven ground, and nothing is designed for the visually impaired. Distances become longer when you can’t see the way, and getting from one place to another can take a lot of time. There’s a lot going on in Kywangwali, and it can be dangerous if no one is looking out for you.

    “I call him Driver, because he drives me around” laughed Poli Poli, an 18 year-old blind man who lives in Kyangwali. He was talking about a young boy who helps him to get around the settlement. Driver leads Poli Poli – guiding him at his shoulder – helping him to walk wherever he needs to go. Poli Poli and the other blind residents of Kyangwali must rely on their neighbors like Driver to help them function and live their lives.

    So, on Day 245, we wanted to do something to help Poli Poli and 9 others have a little more freedom of movement. We purchased them all folding white canes, designed specifically for the blind.

    One woman had grown up in a blind school and knew all about how to use a white cane. “With a white cane, drivers on the road will know that I am blind, and they’ll see me coming.” Others like Poli Poli had never had one of these special white canes, and they needed some time to learn how to use it.

    It was a small change, but the white canes should go a long way making Poli Poli and the other blind residents of Kyangwali feel safer and more able to move about and live their lives.

    Another change made possible by Atomic Data.

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