By Chua Ee June
Imagine being in a room with no light and having to carry out all your daily activities without your sight.
For the visually impaired, simple tasks like going to the washroom, cooking and navigating from one place to another can become significant challenges for them.
In the World Urban Forum 9, ThinkCity collaborated with Dialogue in the Dark to organise a project titled “MY Urban Life in The Dark”, which allows us to experience life in the shoes of a blind person. The objective of the project was to increase social awareness towards people with disabilities and to encourage and promote an inclusive society.
In the interview, Dialogue in the Dark founder and chief executive officer Stevens Chan shared a few things that you can do on your property to ensure that it is blind-friendly.
Amenities such as escalators and elevators should be equipped with voice systems. Elevators that tell which floor they’re at and escalators that indicate whether they are going up or down will help the visually impaired to move around.
Stairs are one of the most dangerous things for a visually impaired person. Hence, it is essential to install railings at all the stairs in your property to provide support and guide them up and down safely.
All properties should have tactile pavements to guide the visually impaired along the walkways. This can help prevent injuries and accidents among the visually impaired and allow them to navigate themselves without help from others.
Navigation can be especially difficult for the visually impaired if there are obstacles in their way. Things like potholes should be covered up, and barricades should be removed to clear the path for them. It is also important to make sure that furniture such as chairs and table are not placed in areas that will block their way.
Volunteers to help the blind
It can be difficult for the visually impaired to cross the street and find the right path to their destination. When you encounter a visually impaired, always volunteer to assist them, be it giving them directions or bringing them to the place they want to go.
Malaysia’s blind-friendly facilities are by no means lacking compared to the other developing countries. However, there is always room for improvement. Simple things like the above can potentially save many lives, and we must play a part in helping the visually impaired.