Independent Living Support Program

We are committed to improving the living standard and independence of the visually impaired.
Being independent does not mean that the blind want to do it all by themselves, without the help of anybody. It does not mean they want to live apart or separate from the community, either. By “independent” we mean the blind have all the same rights as other people with no disabilities. They want to grow up with their family, to go to school, to work, to feel integrated and to be loved.

Independent living for the blind requires Education, Job Training, Orientation and Mobility skills, Participation in social and community life, Access to public services. Sao Mai can provide computer education, music education,  orientation and mobility sessions, job training for positions that require the use of computer technology, and job placement in collaboration with external partners. Social inclusion and access to public services is an objective that can only be achieved by making society work and function for the inclusion of the blind and people affected by disabilities.

From the 2009 census we know that in Viet Nam 7.8 per cent of the  persons aged 5 years or older live with one or more disability in seeing, hearing, walking or cognition. Source: People with Disabilities in Vietnam

A session to train Orientation and Mobility Skills for volunteers at Sao Mai
A session to train Orientation and Mobility Skills for volunteers at Sao Mai

The Independent Living program is based on support requests from the visually impaired and the contribution of sighted trained volunteers. The News page will post requests and calls for volunteers.

Here are two examples of how sighted volunteers can help in the Independent Living program.

The first case is when we need to instruct visually impaired students to travel to classrooms, departments, libraries, cafeteria, etc., and help them move safely and efficiently when they come to a high school or college.

Sao Mai Center will arrange the sessions needed, and provide the necessary practice on how to help visually impaired people in the most effective way.

Another example is with families where both husband and wife are visually impaired and want access to public services like markets, hospitals, bus stations, banks, etc. These visually impaired people need initial support from volunteers to help them navigate and use the aforementioned services.

There are many other specific cases that may be simpler or more complex with objectives that will be specified accordingly.

A Sao Mai Center for the Blind expert will accompany the sighted volunteers.

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