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Disability, such as visual impairment, is one of the most important causes of social marginalization. 285 million people worldwide are visually impaired, with 246 million suffering from severe sight insufficiency and 39 million already blind . In Europe alone, about 30 million people suffer from severe sight loss, meaning that 1 in 30 persons are blind or partially sighted . Major causes of visual impairment are related to uncorrected refractive errors, cataracts, and glaucoma . Such alarming data give an idea of the enormous problem to be faced. In the past, disabled people were often considered a shame to the family. Today, thanks to cultural changes, that mentality has greatly changed. However, physically limited or handicapped individuals still experience discrimination and infringement of their rights on a daily basis at work, trying to find a job, or in going to a cafe, the supermarket, the hospital, etc. . The best way to help disabled people in the developing world is to give them autonomy and independence and to provide them with a good education, e.g., vocational training, so they can retain their dignity as human beings and acquire the skills needed to lead a full life. This new life concept considers impaired individuals not as different people but as people with different capacities.
Date of Publication: December 2012