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Dublin: 8 °C Tuesday 12 November, 2019
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Blind man walks 140km from Longford to Dublin to help wheelchair users

Rahim Nazarali has only five per cent eyesight but walked along the Royal Canal to raise money for the Irish Wheelchair Association.

Norman Capriani, left, and Rahim Nazarali
Norman Capriani, left, and Rahim Nazarali
Image: Facebook

A LEGALLY BLIND man has completed a 140 kilometre walk along the Royal Canal from Longford to Dublin, in aid of the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA).

Rahim Nazarali, a tutor in the Rehabilitative Training Unit of the IWA, reached the finishing line in Ashtown, Dublin at 2.30pm yesterday afternoon. He had started the trek in Cloondara, Co Longford last Thursday with his guide Norman Capriani.

Mr Nazarali told TheJournal.ie that the journey required an average walk of 20-26 miles or 35 kilometres every day.

“We lost at least 2-3 hours every day because of the weather,” said Nazarali. “You had to get into the canal at times, because it was so warm.”

Mr Nazarali is legally blind, and describes himself as having “five per cent eyesight.” He can recognise colours, and can usually recognise people, but he said his guide was still a big help during the trek.

“[Norman] was my eyes along the way a lot,” he said. “Terrain is uneven in lots of places,” he said earlier.

The Royal Canal waterway connects the River Liffey to the River Shannon, and has only recently been restored after being closed for almost 50 years.

The cause

Despite this, Mr Nazarali said that many locals near the start of his journey were not accustomed to seeing the canal used as a walking route. “Even when we met people on the way, they were quite surprised at what we were doing,” he said.

He added that many locals were unable to give directions, with some people saying their destination that day was only five miles away, while others said it was 15 miles away.

The pair have raised around €800 so far, and Mr Nazarali said they would like to reach €1,000. The amount raised will go towards computer equipment for the IWA Rehabilitative Training Unit in Clontarf, where Mr Nazarali teaches career skills to students with disabilities.

“The unit assists people who have acquired injuries or who have long-term disabilities to learn or relearn life skills to help them overcome the challenges they face in their lives,” he said.

“Examples of this would be cookery or IT skills. Like many other areas of IWA’s work, budgetary cuts have impacted on the RTU’s resources.”

Readers can find out more information on Rahim Nazarali’s walk from his Facebook page, and can donate to the Royal Canal Walk at this link.

Read: New app to save time and money for Irish Wheelchair Association

Read: Train station lifts closed for over three months

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Aaron Mc Nicholas

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