We celebrate International Guide Dog Day on the 27th of April and on that occasion Baráthegyi Guide Dog School organized events on the 25th of April in almost 20 cities of the country.
In Hungary there are some eighty-thousand visually impaired people but only 123 of them have a qualified guide dog. Many hope that they will get a guide dog one day. We organized these events at the weekend to draw attention to the need for social collaboration.
Last weekend thousands of people could meet guide dogs at almost 20 different locations in the country. The events were organized on the occasion of International Guide Dog Day which was proclaimed by the United Nations in 1994 to be celebrated on every April 27. Since then the attention is worldwide drawn to guide dogs, how wonderful aids they are for the visually impaired people helping them to travel independently, relieving their loneliness and with their kind nature making it easier for their blind owners to connect with sighted people. People who have a guide dog live a more active life: most of them study or work.
A guide dog costs our foundation approximately 2.5 million HUF until their retirement. However, visually impaired people can get a guide dog for free, because our philosophy is that equality cannot be a material issue. Unfortunately, state subsidy is minimal; costs are covered by the generous donations of thousands of people and 1% of their tax, which can be offered from the tax return for good purpose. The declared aim of this event was to recruit more volunteers and supporters to this noble cause.
Bonyhád, Budapest, Debrecen, Fót, Eger, Kalocsa, Kaposvár, Miskolc, Sátoraljaújhely, Sopron, Szeged, Szerencs, Tatabánya, Üllő, Pécs, Vác… – we were happy to have so many visitors who celebrated with us. We offered them many interesting programs and specialties. At the different locations, sighted people could try out a number of tools and games blindfolded. They could also learn interesting facts about guide dogs and at some locations they could even try out blindfolded how to travel with the help of a guide dog.
An important momentum of the national event was the release of 123 balloons in Budapest. This was to raise attention to the lack of enough guide dogs: in Hungary there are only 123 officially certified guide dogs which is a very small number compared to the approximately eighty thousand visually impaired people. So there is still a lot to do and together we can do more so that more visually impaired people could live with such wonderful helpers. This is also the reason why we organized this event across the country.
We would like to thank the volunteers, our supporters and anyone who took part in the event in some way for their help. With this help we could celebrate International Guide Dog Day successfully. Remember: the more we are, the more we can do for visually impaired people.