Magazine article New African

Blind Eyes Are Not Blind Minds: Blind People Usually Experience Dejection and Stereotyping. but What Is Not Often Considered Is the Psychological Impact of Blindness-The Despair and the Dependence on Others. Donald Gwira Wants the World to Bridge the Gap between the Blind and the Sighted

Magazine article New African

Blind Eyes Are Not Blind Minds: Blind People Usually Experience Dejection and Stereotyping. but What Is Not Often Considered Is the Psychological Impact of Blindness-The Despair and the Dependence on Others. Donald Gwira Wants the World to Bridge the Gap between the Blind and the Sighted

Article excerpt

Blind people usually experience dejection and stereotyping. But what is not often considered is the psychological impact of blindness-the despair and the dependence on others. Donald Gwira wants the world to bridge the gap between the blind and the sighted.

Blindness is a disability an does not mean inability Blindness is also a challenge, which can be overcome, yet the blind are often made to feel rejected and therefore become dejected.

Life is an uphill battle for the blind especially in the developing world where the majority of the blind live. This because our world is built with the sighted in mind and does not favor people with disabilities. We, therefore perceive anyone who is unable to operate effectively in "our world" as a burden to society.

The blind also experience dejection, especially those who were not born blind because they are confronted with the realities of the day when they become blind. Not often considered are the psychological impact of blindness, the despair, and the dependence.

The disabling effects of blindness rob the individual and often the family of the capacity to earn a living, pushing them into even greater poverty. Those who benefit flora counselling of rehabilitation manage to emerge from their dejection but such programmes for the blind are few and far between.

Let us take a few minutes to revisit the issue of inability. The truth of the matter is we all do behave in the same way as the blind person when confronted with their reality, but only temporarily? The following illustrates my point:

* Close your eyes for a minute and enter the world of the blind, as we perceive it. Try moving around with your eyes closed and you will be faced with their reality, but only temporarily.

* Recount the number of things you are able to accomplish when there is a sudden "black out". Were these things undertaken with sight? No, most of these things were undertaken with the help of pre-knowledge of where things are, how the room is laid out, etc; and we approach them cautiously and sometimes awkwardly, the same way a blind person moves around.

* A sighted person needs light to function effectively but a blind person does not. Who is at an advantage?

So I ask the question: wherein lies the basis of our prejudice? …

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