RUB launches the 2023 White Cane Week
Persons with visual impairments in Rwanda continue to encounter difficulties in obtaining white canes due to their high cost. They are requesting the government to explore alternative methods of acquiring them, rather than relying on imports from other countries. This issue was brought to light during the Press Conference held on Friday, November 10, 2023, to inaugurate the White Cane Week.
The Executive Director of the Rwanda Union of the Blind, Dr. Donatilla Kanimba, pointed out that currently, importing the white cane from abroad remains challenging and expensive. The cane is expected to arrive in Rwanda at a cost of $35, which poses difficulties for visually impaired individuals to afford.
She said, “There is no place to buy it in the country. We have been suggesting that maybe it would be available at the District Hospital or somewhere. The price of the cane is now 35 dollars. It is not easy to come up with that amount of money.”
Dr. Kanimba proceeded to explain, “We are actively working on this issue and striving to make improvements. Our goal is to ensure that white canes are available in Rwanda. Currently, we have to wait until there is a sufficient demand, and then we place orders from abroad.”
The President of the Rwandan Union of the Blind (RUB), Dr. Mukarwego Beth, emphasizes the significance of the white cane for individuals with visual impairments.
She asserts that people should acknowledge its importance and states, “Our cane is beneficial for our daily life and activities. It enables us to navigate without difficulties. Consequently, if we utilize it appropriately, we will not encounter any problems. This is why we aim to communicate this message to those we encounter this week, urging them to inquire about the reasons behind our cane usage.”
Rwanda is celebrating the International White Cane on the 15th time. This year, the Day is Nationally held under the theme:” The White Cane, My Independence”.