Blind children ‘walk with dignity’ at Farmers Plaza

Farmers Plaza officials, headed by Property Manager Ceasar Valencia (second from right), distribute white canes to visually-impaired children who attended the White Cane Safety Day celebration in Araneta Center.

Farmers Plaza officials, headed by Property Manager Ceasar Valencia (second from right), distribute white canes to visually-impaired children who attended the White Cane Safety Day celebration in Araneta Center.

The Farmers Plaza on Saturday, August 4, hosted the White Cane Safety Day event, showing its commitment to welcome persons with disabilities (PWDs) in the mall and other properties of Araneta Center.

The White Cane Safety Day is a law-mandated celebration every August that aims to promote the well-being of the visually-impaired and raise awareness on their plight and rights. The event was attended by 150 visually-impaired children and their families.

“We celebrate White Cane Day because we want to create awareness especially for people who are using white canes, because most of the population do not know what a white cane is. Akala nila laruan. It is a tool used by the visually-impaired for mobility so that they can walk with dignity,” said Leo Lee, president of the Parent Advocates for Visually-Impaired Children (PAVIC), which spearheaded the activity.

Araneta Center officials also distributed white canes to select visually-impaired children and stressed the importance of helping PWD visitors around the Center.

“Our security is briefed every day to assist the PWDs, the blind especially. When our guards see them, they immediately assist them,” Ivy Naldeza, assistant property manager of the Farmers Plaza, said.

“It’s very important to raise awareness kasi ‘yung iba hindi nila talaga naiintindihan. We have to know the plight of these people, and when you know how they feel, you become eager to help them,” she added.

Araneta Center’s support for the White Cane cause is just one way of pushing for its corporate social responsibility projects. Last April, the iconic Smart Araneta Coliseum was decked with blue lights in support of the World Autism Awareness Day. Its frontliners are also undergoing regular disability sensitivity trainings.

Grab Philippines country head Brian Cu, himself a parent of a child with a hearing impairment, revealed the transport service’s special discount for PWDs.

All they have to do is send Grab Philippines an email with their PWD IDs and they will receive a special code that they can use to automatically receive discounts on their rides.

He said the transport sharing service has earmarked at least P10 million monthly for this program.

The event featured speeches from advocates of the blind, which highlighted the success of the visually-impaired despite their conditions.

Annette Nelmida, mother of blind twins Joshua and Jerome Nelmida, beamed with pride as her children are set to compete in the Asian Paratriathlon Championship in Legazpi City, Alaby this week.

“We hope to make the Philippines proud,” Annette said, before the crowd at the Farmers Plaza greeted her twins a happy birthday as they turned 18.

After the speeches, the visually-impaired children, their parents and some blindfolded guests were given a tour of the Farmers Plaza in a visual representation of what it is like to walk with dignity despite their condition.