By Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA – 16 OCTOBER 2020: Samoa’s Blind Persons Association (SBPA), has been challenged not to limit their boundaries and must strive higher to achieve the best for them.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi made the challenge at the launch of the White Cane Day Celebration Thursday night at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel.
The White Cane Day Celebration three catch words were Teach, Understand and Independent. The Day celebrated the significance of the White Cane as a mobility tool and a symbol of self-determination and freedom to persons who are blind and visually impaired
Prior to the launch, the association conducted a three day forum on the theme “The Power of Equality.”
The aim was to celebrate the success of persons who are blind and visually impaired, but to identify barriers and plan together the future the Association wants.
The barriers include access to essential services for women and girls who are blind and visually impaired, according to Mataafa Fa’atino Utumapu, SBPA President.
“By bringing our members together from across Upolu and Savaii, we have the opportunity to learn and work together to ensure a positive and inclusive future, giving true meaning to our mission of leaving no one behind,” the President said.
“There can be no peace and stability, no shared prosperity until all people enjoy full exercise of rights and freedoms and recognition of their role in their families, communities and countries,” said the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Simona Marinescu through a video link.
“Through our participation today in your event, the United Nations wishes to recognize the important role you play in the society by voicing the need for inclusion, equality and dignity as fundamental values of our humanity, she said.
“We are inspired by your courage and commitment to the good of all members of your association and wish to invite you to hold our partnership strong as we aim to mark a positive change together. We all stand equal under the sun, embracing our diversity and cultures,” said Simona.
Tuilaepa said he was familiar with the nature of the blind and the association having been involved with the association for many years.
“Blind people are very hard to convince and one cannot get away with anything easily without being asked a lot of questions,” he said.