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|About 1,000 runners, including nearly 300 blind people, take part in the race “Chay voi toi – 2gether” (Run with me – Together) in downtown Hanoi on December 2. (Photo: VNA)|
The event was held by the Vietnam and Friends (VAF), a Vietnamese non-governmental organisation that gathers local and international volunteers to support disadvantaged people in Vietnam and to take care of environmental issues.
The third edition of the race aimed to raise funds for a charitable project namely “Open Road,” the first online library of audio books for visually impaired people and its smartphone application. It was also part of a range of activities to raise public awareness of visually impaired people, to encourage confidence in their abilities and promote opportunities for those with visual loss in particular and the handicapped in general.
Opening the event, US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel J. Kritenbrink said everyone has the right and opportunity to study, work and pursue their dreams and that’s the reason why the US has provided more than 1 million USD to support disabled people in Vietnam since 1989.
The event is not only for running with the blind but also creates a welcoming environment and eliminates physical and social barriers to enhance public awareness of the importance of equal rights for people with disabilities, he added.
The runners raced distances of 3.4 km and 5.1 km around Hoan Kiem lake. Each blind contestant was guided by a sighted runner through a rope tied to their wrists so the distance between a visually impaired and a sighted was reduced.
A number of activities also took place besides the race to allow the sighted to experience a life of the blind and understand them better, for example, learning Braille and how to use a cane to walk like a blind person and playing chess with the blind.