Sun, Feb 20, 2005 - Page 4 News List

Guide dog school is needed for the visually impaired

CNA , Taipei

Several visually impaired people pleaded for support from the public yesterday for the establishment of a guide dog school in Taiwan.

Yang Huan-hsieh (楊煥賢) is one of only eight blind people in Taiwan to have obtained a licensed guide dog from the American group "Leader Dog." With the help of the dog, his mobility and quality of life has significantly improved, he said.

As there are still many blind people who need this kind of help, Yang urged the public to donate money for the establishment of a guide dog training school. Their target is to raise NT$60 million (US$1.9 million).

Those interested in donating can do so through the more than 1,700 7-11 convenience stores around the nation.

Chen Chang-ching (陳長青), secretary-general of the Taiwan Guide Dog Association, said there are some 50,000 blind people around the country, but only 11 guide dogs in service. Chen's association hopes to set up a guide dog school within three years to serve the blind.

It costs around NT$1.2 million to train a guide dog.

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