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Since the International Year of Disabled Persons in 1981,  people with disability have organised  themselves into their own organisations all over  the world. Disabled People's Organisations are  those controlled by a majority of people with disability (51%) at the board and  membership levels.

The role of these organisations includes providing a voice of their own, identifying needs, expressing views on priorities, evaluating services and advocating change and public awareness.

DPOs believe that people with disability are their own best spokespersons and their role has been and is fundamental for the human rights movement of people with disability.

South Africa

A wide range of advocacy and self-help organization exist in South Africa. They range from the overtly political Disabled People South Africa, aligned with the ruling African National Congress, to single-issue national organisations such as the The South African National Council for the Blind.


In addition to this, there are 3 different types of DPOs:

Within these DPOs that represent medical diagnostic groups, are provincial organisations to assist it's members in a particular province. An example of this is The Western Cape Blind Association (WEBA) They are associated with  the "The South African National Council for the Blind" and assist its members in the Western Cape.

How they can help

Organisations such as these assist with and are involved in:

  • Provide relevant services and support to South Africans with visual impairments
  • Facilitate collaborative partnerships to serve the interests of visually impaired South Africans
  • Advocate on behalf of persons with visual impairments
  • Develop and maintain standards for services offered to persons with visual impairments
  • Promote the education, training and rehabilitation relevant for the employment of persons with visual impairments
  • Help organisations for and of the blind to deliver effective and relevant services
  • Gather and disseminate information on matters concerning visual impairment
  • Initiate and implement projects beneficial to persons with visual impairments
  • Supply assistive devices and related technologies to persons with visual impairments
  • Preserve and restore sight and prevent blindness
  • Work together with international organisations for the improvement of the quality of life of persons with visual impairments
  • Create awareness of the skills, capacities and abilities of persons with visual impairments
  • Ensure that blind and partially sighted people of all ages enjoy all rights promised by the Constitution of South Africa.

To mention just a few.

Sports Organizations


There are a wide variety of sports tournaments that the Blind & Visually Impaired can compete in. They include:

  • The Paralympic Games
  • IBSA World Championships and Games

Paralympic Games

The Paralympic Games comprise all the sports contested in the Summer and Winter Paralympic Games. As of 2016, the Summer Paralympics will include 22 sports and 526 medal events, and the Winter Paralympics include 5 sports and disciplines and about 72 events. The number and kinds of events may change from one Paralympic Games to another.

The Paralympic Games are a major international multi-sport event for athletes with disabilities which includes blindness. Paralympic sports refers to organized competitive sporting activities as part of the global Paralympic movement. These sports are organized and run under the supervision of the International Paralympic Committee and other international sports federations.

Athletes with visual impairment ranging from partial vision, sufficient to be judged legally blind, to total blindness. This includes impairment of one or more component of the visual system (eye structure, receptors, optic nerve pathway, and visual cortex). The sighted guides for athletes with a visual impairment are such a close and essential part of the competition that the athlete with visual impairment and the guide are considered a team. Beginning in 2012, these guides (along with sighted goalkeepers in 5-a-side football became eligible to receive medals of their own.

The IBSA World Championships

The IBSA World Championships and Games is held every four years. The first games took place in 1998 in Madrid, Spain. This Tournament is organized & run by The International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA), which is a nonprofit organization founded 1981 in Paris, France.

IBSA's mission is to promote the full integration of blind and partially sighted people in society through sport and to encourage people with a visual impairment to take up and practice sports. IBSA is a full and founding member of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

IBSA is the international federation for several sports for people with a visual impairment, including three Paralympic sports (Five-a-side football, Goalball and Judo), Powerlifting, Ten-pin bowling, Nine-pin bowling, Torball, Athletics, Alpine skiing, Biathlon, Swimming, Shooting, Archery, Showdown, Nordic skiing, and Cycling.

IBSA also organizes world and regional championships in many of its sports. Regional or continental championships are generally held in odd years, while world championships take place every four years in even years when there are no Paralympic Games.


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