Factories employing visually impaired can fight poverty

Prince Talal addresses Ebsar Foundation’s general assembly meeting in Jeddah on Wednesday. To his right in IDB Chairman Ahmed Muhammad Ali. (SPA)

By JEDDAH: ARAB NEWS

Published: May 4, 2012 01:45 Updated: May 4, 2012 01:50

Prince Talal, honorary president of the Ebsar Foundation for Rehabilitation of Visually Impaired, commended Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah’s support to combating blindness.

“King Abdullah’s continuing support to various programs for tackling visual impairment has prompted the international community to grant Saudi Arabia a global partnership to combat blindness,” Prince Talal said in his opening address at Ebsar Foundation’s general assembly meeting in Jeddah on Wednesday.

The prince said the Kingdom’s all-round development has enabled the society to achieve rapid progress in the health sector including eye care.

He reminded the foundation’s members of their duty to combat blindness so that they achieve the target of the global initiative titled “Vision 2020: the right to see,” which aims to reduce cases of the disability considerably.

Prince Talal stressed the need to deal with blindness in an integrated manner activating the role of the Higher Council for Disability.

While speaking on the role of AGFUND in the combat of poverty (which is a factor in visual impairment), the prince stressed the need to start a movement to wipe out poverty in the Kingdom within the framework of reforms initiated by the king.

He hoped to see the launching of a bank for the poor in the Kingdom identical with such movements in Jordan, Bahrain, Yemen and Syria. Prince Talal said the foundation’s plan to start factories for the Kingdom’s visually impaired people is part of its efforts to eradicate poverty. Founding factories to employ blind people has been successfully trialed in the United Kingdom.

The prince also underscored the economic significance of factories to employ the visually impaired. Such factories will provide employment to the blind, assure a decent living for them and make them productive in addition to ensuring their position in the country’s developmental process instead of being a burden to the economy.

“The economic factor is a fundamental aspect in finding sustainable solutions to the unemployment and poverty of people with visual impairment,” the prince said.

The prince also hoped that the Ebsar foundation would launch an academy to train and employ visually impaired people. He also commended the move to rehabilitate and employ 1,200 visually impaired people in collaboration with some government departments.

He hoped businessmen would support such charitable efforts in the society.

Speaking on the occasion, Ahmad Muhammad Ali, director general of social affairs directorate in Makkah province and chairman of the Technical and Vocational Training Council, said Ebsar launched a project to meet the expenses for the treatment of diseases that may lead to blindness in a poor person. He said the number of beneficiaries of the project reached 695 people. He said eyes of 277 people were operated upon and 255 people received medical treatment under the project. The society also distributed 127 pairs of glasses, he said.

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