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Press Release from WBU for Universal Children’s Day

Toronto, November 20, 2015

Every child deserves the appropriate support and education needed to become an independent adult and active citizen. Unfortunately, many children with low vision and blindness are not given the chance to reach their full potential. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that of the 19 million children that are visually impaired globally, less than 10% of them have access to education (largely due to the lack of accessible reading materials), and they are more likely than sighted children to suffer from malnutrition or starvation, abuse (in all of its forms), a lack of recreation, a lack of health care and infant mortality.

A
rticle 7 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) explicitly calls for States Parties to ensure that the “best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.” What is often best for the child is ensuring that their parents or caregiver(s) have all of the information and support they need in order to enable their child’s development into an independent and employed adult, capable of advocating for their own rights.

Many parents of visually impaired have reported feeling poorly prepared for raising a low vision or blind child, often receiving less than adequate support and information from medical professionals, educators and social workers. Parents can be the best, or worst, advocates for their children’s well-being. What parents need is support of their own, and associations of parents of children with visual impairment are an essential way to help parents better know how to raise a visually impaired child. The WBU’s Representative to the NGO Committee to UNICEF and
Executive Director of the National Association of Parents of Children with Visual Impairments of the Lighthouse Guild (NAPVI – link: www.lighthouseguild.org/napvi), Susan LaVenture, explains the importance of Parent Associations:

​“Parent Associations have made an impact within communities and have affected public policies on the national level for improvement of education and services for families. National Parent Associations of Children with Visual Impairments have emerged around the world and should be recognized by NGOs and governments as part of the solution as being a resource for families and encourage collaboration to provide parental education and support services.”

Parents and caregivers also need to reach out to organizations of the blind in order to connect their children to mentors and possible role models that will further their development into independent adults. Parents cannot always be there for their children, and while it is important to ensure your child is supported, it is also important to know when to let children begin taking care of themselves and advocating for their own rights, and the rights of others in the visually impaired community. Organizations of the blind can help parents navigate this difficult but crucial process.

For families to learn more about the role of parents and mentors in effectively supporting children`s educational and personal development, follow this link to the Friends and Family page on our Project Aspiro website (
www.projectaspiro.com/en/friends-and-family/Pages/default.aspx). The World Blind Union`s Project Aspiro is a comprehensive career planning and employment resources for individuals who are blind or partially sighted. 

It offers many resources and tips to help low vision and blind people gain employment, live independently and become strong self-advocates.

To learn more about organizations of the blind, follow this link to our Member Organizations page:  
www.worldblindunion.org/English/about-wbu/membership/Pages/Member-Regions-and-Organizations.aspx​



The World Blind Union (WBU) is the global organization representing the estimated 285 million people worldwide who are blind or partially sighted. Members consist of organizations run by blind people advocating on their own behalf, and organizations that serve the blind, in over 190 countries, as well as international organizations working in the field of vision impairment.



For further information, contact:

World Blind Union
Caitlin Reid
Communications Coordinator
Caitlin.Reid@wbu.ngo​