For the blind people life has not been easy during lockdown period. For them social distancing has been a serious challenge as they have to rely on the next available for assistance in some of their daily duties or activities. To move from one point to the other. To cross the street. To get hold of whatever item. In all these instances, and many others, the blind rely on someone else to achieve them.
It is for this reason that some of the regulations and preventative measures introduced by government during lockdown to help reduce the spread of Covid-19 have been difficult to live by.
“It is difficult for us blind people to maintain social distancing, we rely on help from someone to get things done and in many instances we hold a person by his hand, elbow or the shoulder to help us cross the road or walk with us and remember we are not allowed to do so” said the Chairperson of Tebello Association for the Blind, Tebello Manoto.
According to him, wearing a mask has also become difficult as they are relying on their other senses, hearing, smell, taste and touch to do execute some of their activities.
“Because we can’t see we rely on our senses and we are unable to in some instances. And now, because of the mask we must wear and we have realized that people are now reluctant to help us due to some of these issues” added Manoto.
Tebello Association for the Blind was formed in 2011 in Zamdela, Sasolburg and has about 58 members presently. The association was formed to bring the blind people together and help them to do things for themselves. According to Manoto the lockdown has also affected the association and its members badly financially as well.
The association was involved in various handwork projects to help its members financially such as beading, cleaning agents such as soap, sta-soft, handy-andy, pine-gel, and they have since stopped producing.
Members of the association also participate in sports such goalball and music.
Manoto said most of them rely on government grant, which is not enough as they spend a lot on the medication they use for their condition and also on their families.
“I have 13 family members that rely on my grant and since we can’t make extra income through our work at the association it is very difficult, our chemicals that we use to make most of our work has also now expired, we are appealing for any assistance” he said.