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Slovaks give generously to train guide dogs

SLOVAKS last year donated almost €8,400 to support the training of guide dogs to assist visually impaired persons.

A guide dog in action on a Slovak train. A guide dog in action on a Slovak train. (Source: TASR)

SLOVAKS last year donated almost €8,400 to support the training of guide dogs to assist visually impaired persons.

“The funds from public donations are used for the purchase, upbringing and training of guide dogs,” Jarmila Virágová, the head of the Guide Dog Training School, a department of the Slovak Blind and Partially Sighted Union, told the SITA newswire.

The civic organisation (Únia nevidiacich a slabozrakých Slovenska, UNSS) also uses some of the donations to provide social consultancy and rehabilitation to individuals in need of these services. UNSS was established in 1990 with the objective of improving the quality of life of visually impaired Slovaks and to give partially sighted and blind citizens an opportunity to live full lives.

“The collection of voluntary contributions is made via 50 collection boxes that have replicas of guide dogs on them in locations available to the general public across all of Slovakia. The second kind of contribution is a voluntary donation sent to a special account for this purpose,” said Jozef Zbranek, UNSS’s coordinator of the donation programme, who added that the contributions assist blind and partially sighted persons by making their everyday lives easier and permitting easier movement outside their homes.

Zbranek said a guide dog is an irreplaceable aid in helping a visually-impaired person become oriented in space and to move about, leading a fuller life without being reliant on help from other people.

The Guide Dog Training School, which is accredited by the International Guide Dog Federation, annually organises the fundraising programme. More information is available at their website: http://unss.sk/en2.


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