Voluntary Service and Cooperation

by Federico Bartolomei

The Istituto Cavazza's commitment with blind kids from Senegal.

To be blind in a poor country often means that one cannot work or go to school and should expect to be marginalized and poor and, because of the reduced life expectancy, a third less than a sighted person, left alone until death.
The Vision 2020 program, an international campaign which has fixed the elimination of the main causes of preventable blindness in the world, wanted to stimulate permanent cooperation between governments, non government organizations, the private sector and single donors on the theme of visual prevention. In numerous cases, as a matter of fact, blindness and low vision are preventable, but this requires a wide collaborative effort on the part of all organizations involved in the fight against blindness. The WHO estimates that there are in the world today nearly 37 million blind people and 124 million persons living with low vision. Ninety percent of blind persons live in developing countries, particularly in rural areas and in diminished sectors of cities, where, because of precarious health and socio-economic conditions
(malnutrition, diseases, lack of medicine and adequate cures), an individual has 10 additional probabilities to lose his sight compared to a person living in an industrialized country.
Picture of a little Senegalese girl
In this worrying world scenario, the Istituto Cavazza for the Blind, which has always worked for the integration and training of blind and visually impaired people, has decided to really get involved by responding to the request of AMOA (Association of Eye Specialists for Africa). Their office is in Bologna and they are active in voluntary cooperation for the benefit of African peoples.

The association is now involved in a restructuring project of the Institut national d'Úducation et de formation des aveugles of Thies in Senegal. From today, the 80 blind students aged between 8 and 18 years old, at the present time in the Senegalese institute, will be able to take advantage of educational aids: slates and styluses, paper for Braille writing and sound balls given by the Istituto Cavazza, to pursue with new resources on the difficult path towards independence.