Cheers! The (virtual) happy hour connecting the blind community
28 March 2020 at 12:00 pm
“It’s very easy to feel like you’re the only one experiencing challenges”
As people across Australia retreat into their homes and stay there, Blind Citizens Australia is launching daily virtual happy hours to connect socially isolated people who are blind or vision impaired – from a safe distance.
Starting from Monday, the happy hours will run on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11am, and Tuesday and Thursday from 7:30pm.
The sessions will be accessible via phone, tablet or computer, and are open to all blind or vision impared Australians, not just Blind Citizens Australia (BCA) members.
Emma Bennison, BCA’s CEO, told Pro Bono News it was a great chance for the community to catch up on their lives, participate in fun activities, and share important coronavirus information.
“Hopefully this will foster some positive social interactions, but of course, from a very safe distance,” Bennison said.
She said it would be up to the blind community as to how the sessions were run, and what topics were covered.
“I’m very keen to ask the community what they need rather than forcing something down people’s throats,” she said.
“I think it’ll just be a great way for people to come together and hear their thoughts and perhaps some of their feelings around where we’re at at the moment and what it’s like for all of us, but particularly for people who are blind or vision impaired, where there are some additional challenges.”
She said giving the blind community a chance to connect with one another and provide support was critical at a time when everyone is shut inside.
“It’s very easy to feel like you’re the only person experiencing challenges with things like doing the groceries or accessing services… I think there’s a sense that to some extent, people with disability have been forgotten in this process,” she said.
“So I think it’s crucially important that we make sure that we provide these opportunities for people to connect with each other and share their experiences and come up with solutions to problems.”
While no activities have been decided yet, Bennison said the team at BCA already had a few ideas up their sleeve.
“Everything from online open-mic sessions to online book clubs,” she said.
“In the end though, it will be up to the community to choose what they want to do.”
Details on how you can join in on one (or all) of the happy hours will be advertised on BCA’s Facebook page in the coming days.