Israel - Focusing on understanding

Walking in someone else’s shoes or seeing through their lens is not always an easy thing to do.  Creating empathy for a problem not always evident is especially difficult. On Blind Day, 6/6, the Israel Center for the Blind gives everyone the opportunity to experience, study, discuss and identify with the world of those with vision impairment. We tend to use the term “blind” as a blanket term, but blindness has degrees and presents itself in a vast number of ways, but all limit the activity and daily functioning of the person, impacting on their quality of life. 

Blind Day is an annual event held on the 6th of the 6th (Israel’s equivalent of 20:20) when all are enlisted, the media, social organizations, volunteers, to talk candidly, expose their strengths and weaknesses, trials and tribulations and simply, show “a day in the life” of vision impaired adults and children. The aim is to raise the public’s awareness of the needs of Israel’s blind and those with limited vision by creating activities and experiences leading to a national understanding and conversation regarding the issues.

In June 2018 the central Tel Aviv Rothschild Boulevard was turned into an experiential opportunity for passers-by and the general public to enter the world of vision impairment and to come away with a new understanding and appreciation of sight.

By bringing art, technology and compassion together the exhibit of posters showed how regular sighted viewed the images and how, with the use of visors replicating various forms of vision impairment, those with vision impairment see the same images.  Even these few seconds viewing the world through these visors helped all who passed by the exhibit to identify and comprehend the way in which 25,000 registered blind and some 150,000 Israelis with vision impairment experience daily life. The exhibit was inspired by the IBCU’s members. Such an exhibit prompted the participants and viewers alike to re-evaluate their own abilities and to question how their lives and daily routines would be affected by degrees of vision impairment.

Blind Day is a simple and effective way where anyone in Israel can experience just a few minutes of someone else’s life and immediately understand a multiple number of challenges affecting someone with vision impairment and their quality of life be it in the work place, in the home with family and friends, enjoying sports or cultural events or simply taking a stroll down Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard.

Nati Bialistok-Cohen, The Center for the Blind in Israel