SA Guide-Dogs Association for the Blind is this year’s charity partner at the co-located trade exhibitions, Securex South Africa, the continent’s Africa’s largest security and fire trade expo, and A-OSH EXPO, Africa’s leading occupational health and safety (OHS) trade exhibition. The SA Guide-Dogs Association for the Blind was founded in 1953 by Gladys Evans, and it is the only seeing-eye dog operation in Africa. This year’s co-located expos take place from 22 to 24 May at Gallagher Convention Centre, Midrand.
Sven Smit, Portfolio Director for both A-OSH EXPO and Securex South Africa, says, “There is a quote – source unknown – which says, ‘A guide dog is almost equal in many ways to giving a blind man sight itself.’
“The trained guide dog helps the owner to avoid obstacles, prevent accidents in traffic and find destinations. In addition, a Guide Dog becomes a constant companion to a visually impaired person, enhancing their quality of life and providing a measure of independence and mobility, as well as unconditional love and companionship.”
Mmabatho Koena, Marketing Coordinator at SA Guide-Dogs Association for the Blind, notes that the Association wants guide dogs to be available to any visually impaired person, regardless of their financial position. Therefore, the visually impaired person pays R100 towards their board and lodging for a two-week stay at the SA Guide-Dogs Association for the Blind’s training residence, and R5 to buy the dog.
Koena says, “SA Guide-Dogs Association for the Blind will be selling raffle tickets at the shows on all three days to generate income, with tickets costing just R25 each for your chance to win a Suzuki Ignis. We’ll also be selling our promo stock, in the form of soft-toy puppies for R120 each – they come in three different colours, namely black, beige and brown.
“Additionally, we’ll bring some of our puppies-in-training to the shows, making sure – for the sake of their well-being – that our young dogs work shifts, so that different dogs will be at the show at different times. We’ll also be distributing our magazine, which is named ‘Friend in Harness’, during the show days, as well as other information on how the general public can help our Association.”
It costs around R100, 000 to train a Guide Dog, and a puppy can be sponsored from R5,000. SA Guide-Dogs Association for the Blind breeds Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, cross Labrador/Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds to be guide dogs. The Association is entirely self-funded and does not receive any form of assistance from the government, gaining its funds through donations as well as its own fundraising initiatives.
“We at A-OSH EXPO and Securex South Africa are truly proud to be associated with the SA Guide-Dogs Association for the Blind as our charity partner for 2018. We’re looking forward to seeing this noble organisation represented at the co-located shows and trust that the show days will be truly rewarding for their fund-raising efforts,” concludes Smit.
For more information on the two shows, and to register for your free attendance, please visit www.securex.co.za or www.aosh.co.za.