According to Florentin Radulescu for ziardecluj.ro there are over 2,000 people with visual imparment in Cluj-Napoca. In order to find out how those people manage to live their daily life with visual impairment, I provided an interview with Diana, a 20 year old student at the faculty of Sociology and Social Assistance, who was born blind.
Is it difficult to move across the city with a guide dog?
No. Zafira (the dog) represents my eyes. She guides me everywhere, avoiding any kind of obstacles which might hurt me. Also, she remembers the roads really fast. For example, now I don’t have to give her any indications for how to take me to my faculty, I only say where we are going and that’s it.
Do you think Cluj-Napoca is well prepared to easier people with visual impairment lives?
I’d say more yes than no, because it provides traffic lights with sound which are really helpful when crossing the street. Also, it has special grounded dots, which lead you to a cross walk and so on.
What is the biggest obstacle a person with visual impairment might have outside?
Definitely agglomeration. During rush hour there are lots of people and cars outside so it gets frustrating and difficult to move across the city.
Do you use any other tools to help you move besides the guide dog?
When it comes to me I totally prefer to use only a guide dog. Once I tried to use a walking stick, but it doesn’t work for me. I was scared to walk outside, because I felt more exposed to danger when using a walking stick, but whenever I am guided by a dog, I feel that someone cares for me and protects.
How do you manage to use your phone without seeing the screen?
Iphones have this accessibility feature called Voice Over that read you everything which is on the screen. The weak point of this feature is that it cannot read the pictures.
How do you manage to order something when you are at restaurant or café?
Usually I ask the server to read the menu to me. But recently there appeared some kind of glasses with a camera attached that take pictures of everything around you and then describe it. So it would be useful to have this kind of glasses when I am outside trying to make an order.
Do you cook by yourself?
No, the only thing I can do is sandwiches. But I am willing to learn how to cook, because eating outside all the time is really expensive.
Do you think that supermarkets are well arranged for people with visual impairment?
Absolutely not. Usually I go shopping to Auchan, Iulius, and I can say that the shelves there are always changing the produces which makes it impossible for me to go shopping alone.
Are you a part of an organization for people with visual impairment?
I am only a member of an online community for people with visual impairment in Vaslui, my hometown. But I would like to join an organization here in Cluj-Napoca, because I have a lot of ideas for projects in my mind which I would want to discuss with specialist and apply them as soon as possible.
What a perfect man looks like for you?
The most important quality for me is honesty. I want him to be always honest with me so that we can discuss any kind of problems. I want someone reliable and compatible to me.
What is you biggest dream?
I think that the biggest dream for me is creating my own family. I hope I will find someone in the near future, get married and have a house full of kids.
– Made by Zastolnitcaia Ana