News & Events

Volunteers Receive Training from Guide Dogs Association
Friday 9 September 2016

Volunteers at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir received the London Engagement Team from the Guide Dogs Association on Friday 9 September 2016. Mel, Rob and Desi were joined by Amit Patel, who is registered blind, for a day of training on how to guide visually impaired people.

Amit spoke of losing his eyesight two years ago. He explained how Kika his guide dog had transformed his life. “There is nothing I feel that I cannot do,” he said. He also shared that he had just become the proud father of a baby boy. Amit concluded by saying that all he wanted was for people to treat him with dignity and respect, “as just another human being.”

Mel explained that the ideal way to approach a visually impaired visitor is to tap the person’s right elbow and introduce oneself. Following the introduction, the volunteer should then ask if he/she needed any assistance. If the person wished to be guided, he/she will then hold onto the right elbow of the volunteer.

Mel then gave a practical demonstration on how to guide a visually impaired person through narrow spaces, doors, and up and down stairs. The volunteers then paired up, each taking turns to wear special eye masks that ensured that they could not see and were then guided by their colleague. This brought home to everyone just what visually impaired people face on a daily basis.

The Mandir wishes to sincerely thank the London Engagement Team and the Guide Dogs Association for taking time out to provide such insightful training. This was another step forward in the Mandir’s on-going commitment to providing an enriching experience as possible to all its visitors.

To learn more about the commendable work of the Guide Dogs Association, please visit

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