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International White Cane Day

Could you get dressed in the morning, make breakfast, walk to the bus stop and get off at the right stop before heading to the office all with your eyes closed?

These are tasks that about 300,000 Australians who are blind or vision impaired undertake confidently and capably each day.

Knowing the best route to walk to the train or bus, how to safely board public transport and understanding the office layout are some of the orientation and mobility skills taught for free by instructors from Guide Dogs NSW/ACT.

On International White Cane Day, Thursday, October 15, Guide Dogs is calling on the community to consider, 'Could you get to work with your eyes closed?'

Guide Dogs is launching a new television Community Service Announcement and an online video on the day, and members of the public will be invited to participate in supervised blindfold challenges in the city and Parramatta.

Last year, Guide Dogs' Orientation and Mobility Instructors worked with almost 4,000 people of all ages across NSW and the ACT to help them achieve their mobility goals.

Statistics show that every day 28 Australians are diagnosed with vision loss that cannot be corrected. "With our ageing population the work of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT will touch the lives of so many more as they seek support to build their confidence, mobility and independence," Dr White said.

How the community can help:

  • Keep footpaths clear of obstacles such as rubbish bins
  • Ensure café and restaurant tables are placed away from the building line
  • Trim overhanging branches
  • Do not park cars over footpaths
  • Be aware of cane users when sharing the footpath
  • Report all hazards to your local council