Helping the Visually Impaired

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The PAL Multicultural Centre Mobility Project – PHASE 1

Project Summary – Phase 1

The PAL Multicultural Centre in Liverpool, in collaboration with the Toxteth Rotary Club, plan to carry out Project Phase 1 which aims to support and improve mobility education and learning for Visually Impaired (VI), blind and underprivileged children and adults in Pakistan.

A Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study carried out in 2017 estimated that out of 207.7 million people in Pakistan, an estimated 1.12 million were blind and further 1.09 million people had severe vision loss.

By improving mobility, the project also seeks to tackle the social isolation and loneliness experienced by many blind and visually impaired by improving their independence.

The project aims to provide training in Orientation and Mobility to 4 individuals from the PAL Community. When they complete their own training, the new instructors will educate ‘local’ students in Orientation and Mobility skills. This will be carried out under supervision to ensure the instructors are fully skilled and confident.

The 4 instructors will then travel to Pakistan where they will provide Orientation and Mobility training to several VI students. Perhaps more importantly, the 4 instructors will also train some new Mobility trainers who will provide Orientation and Mobility training after the UK trainers return to the UK.

The newly trained ‘on the ground’ instructors will be given guidance from the UK to help continue with on-going training after the UK instructors leave Pakistan.

An important collaborator with the project will be US Charity You Cane Give. This charity provides reconditioned canes to the Visually Impaired Worldwide.

How will we proceed

  1. Identify 3 – 4 individuals from the PAL community who are willing and able to
    • Undergo Orientation and Mobility training at St Vincent’s Specialist School.
    • Train ‘practice’ students in Liverpool to underpin training received.
  2. Travel to Pakistan where they will stay long enough for them to train pupils and new Trainers. NB it is vital that the UK trainers leave behind local people trained to be Orientation and Mobility Instructors. The locals will continue to provide training after the UK instructors return to the UK.
  3. To keep expenditure as low as possible we will carry out fund-raising activities to fund return flights to Pakistan.
  4. Identify contacts who can provide accommodation in Pakistan
  5. Identify contacts and/or people of influence who can help to identify potential mobility trainee instructors who will be based in Pakistan
  6. Work closely with a US Charity ‘You Cane Give’ who will provide several reconditioned canes (number to be confirmed).
  7. Local team in Pakistan will continue to collaborate with You Cane Give to provide canes to those in need

When Phase 1 is complete

When Phase 1 is complete, the 4 Mobility instructors will provide training for the next tranche of new trainees selected to travel continue with Phase 2.

Useful Statistics

Research carried out in 2017 determined that world blindness is expected to triple by 2050. The current numbers of people with severe Visual Impairment for Asia and parts of Africa are:

  • 11.7 million people in South Asia
  • 6.2 million people in East Asia
  • 3.5 million people in South East Asia
  • more than 4% of the population in parts of sub-Saharan Africa

Further studies involving the above areas demonstrated that, to date, international standard trainings and social care, particularly training related to Orientation and Mobility is not provided to the visually impaired at large. This project aims to go some way towards addressing this issue.

Due to the magnitude of the problem, the project will consist of several phases.

Phase 1 will be a pilot project and due to the level of interest already demonstrated, will take place in Pakistan.

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