For our students, every day is a discovery. Children get to know plants and animals in their surroundings and experience the freedom of running and climbing on trees. Even falling down is a valuable experience as they find out that it is not as bad as people have always told them:
“Be careful, you will fall down! Sit down, don’t walk too fast!”
Teenagers and adults just start life. Probably, the most important discovery is that they are just normal people with their capacities and limitations. They have always been treated as sick or incapacitated people without any freedom or privacy, completely dependent on family members for everything. Now, they need to learn to think for themselves, to make choices and take decisions. It is very challenging for many blind adults to build confidence and find out what they wish to do in their future. Until short time ago, they would just swing in their hammocks or watch tv. Often, they would not imagine to get married, create a family or have a jub.
The disability benefit paid by the Brazilian government contributes to the negative attitute towards blindnes as it keeps blind people inactive and dependent. Families will prefer to stay in control of the money instead of encouraging a blind family member to become independent with the risk to lose the benefit when getting a job.
For children and adults alike, small adventures make a big difference. A participation in a radio programme, a long walk in the countryside, a chance to touch animals, such as horses, sheep and cows help them to strengthen their self confidence and to increase their knowledge about the world around them.
Unfortunately, many blind people still do not have this chance to live their own live. They are hidden away, over-protected or abandoned. They do not now about their rights to study and make their own choices. Adults usually are not aware of the fact that they do not need the permission of their parents anymore. We need to find ways to reach these people and help them to leave their prisions.