Friday, March 8, 2013

International Women's Day: Visually Impaired Women Worldwide

If you caught one of my previous post February Is... I express my love/hate paradoxical feelings toward awareness campaigns. I love them because they do bring awareness to causes but sometimes can further marginalize the groups that they are trying to help. The longer I think about it I'm starting to... dare I say it 'LOVE' them. My love/hate feelings arise from the fact that I can already perceive (in my mind at least) this global society where everyone is treated equally with their differences. Then I look around and realize that this isn't happening for everyone. My logic jumped from straight A to Z without considering all the other letters in between. When I look around a second time the seeds of change are sprouting and still are being planted. Sometimes I forget that CHANGE is a PROCESS not an event. Not everyone who is exposed to awareness campaigns will become a change agent but if they can affect at least one person then the are worthy. Awareness campaigns are the first step in making a better world for everyone. People have to be reminded that just because we take a day or a month to bring awareness for many people this is their daily lives.

So if you read the title of this post you will know that today March 8th is International Women's Day. This year's global theme is The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum. Even though Stargardt's Disease affects people around the world sometimes I only view being visually impaired in that narrow narrative, well... sometimes. Since being blind or losing your sight can feel like and isolating circumstance there are millions of people around the world with similar experiences. Sometimes those of us in the industrialized Western countries take for granted the technology, resources and the strides our societies have taken to help make our lives easier. I'll admit it isn't always the ideal in our countries either but its better if you look at it globally. According to the WHO (World Health Organization) there are an estimated 285 million people globally who are visually impaired. The majority of these cases occur in developing nations and can be corrected and cured. So in this post I wanted to showcase organizations and movements around the world that assist visually impaired women.

  • who works in more than 30 countries examines health disparities that have increased the rate of women who have preventable forms of blindness. In their article Why are 20 million women worldwide still needlessly blind? they discuss how cataracts and trachoma not being treated are greatly affecting the lives of women who live in Africa and Asia.
  • Empowering Women with Football - Urece Sports and Culture for the Blind of Brazil is trying to get a blind women's football (soccer) league recognized. There is already a men's league that competes all over the world but  the women's league needs help getting recognized.
  • 7 Blind Female Filmmakers - Mohd Shirvani put a project together where he gave cameras to 7 Blind women for them to create their own films in Asia.
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