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Guide Dogs Awareness

1018. Amit Patel

Dr Amit Patel, from London, has been instrumental in increasing awareness of the discrimination faced by people with visual impairments by fitting a camera to his guide dog Kika and sharing the recordings on social media.

Dr Amit Patel with his Guide Dog Kika

After regularly facing abuse on his daily commute, Amit decided to record evidence using a GoPro camera attached to Kika’s collar. The footage he has shared on social media went viral and gained significant press coverage, leading Amit to collaborate with Transport for London on improving travel experiences for visually impaired customers. He has also supported their Priority Seating Week campaign by recording voice messages on tannoy to remind customers to give up seats to those in need, and he remains a dedicated volunteer for ‘Guide Dogs’ and the ‘Royal Institute for the Blind.’

Amit’s award coincides with the start of 2018’s Guide Dogs Week.

In a personal letter to Amit, Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“You have responded to the unacceptable and disgraceful abuse you faced on your commute with tremendous resilience. You should feel very proud of how many people you and Kika have inspired with your online campaign that raises awareness of the exceptional assistance guide dogs provide.”

Clive Efford, Amit’s local MP for Southwark, said:

“Dr Amit is truly exceptional. His online videos featuring his guide dog Kika show clearly the issues that people with sight loss regularly face when travelling around our city. His work with Transport for London is helping them to become more aware of these problems and to improve travel experiences for visually-impaired customers. He is truly deserving of this recognition.”

Tom Wright, Chief Executive of Guide Dogs, said:

“Amit is a great advocate for people with sight loss and for Guide Dogs. His tireless work to raise awareness and challenge public attitudes is a credit to his determination and drive to see everyone included in society. We are absolutely delighted he has received this award.”

Amit said:

“It is an honour and a privilege to be recognised by the Prime Minister with a Points of Light Award. It still surprises me that the work I’ve done has had such an impact in changing attitudes towards disability. It all started by a desire to educate myself and those close to me and has ended up inspiring and empowering a huge community around the world, challenging perceptions of what ‘disabled’ looks like.

“As a blind father, I’m only too aware of the barriers that face me and other disabled parents in our daily lives and want to continue raising awareness of these challenges. But I also want to highlight that even an individual can help to break down these barriers – even the smallest of steps taken by a single person can make the biggest difference to someone’s day.

“All of this has been made possible because of the help and support of so many people and organisations, not least my wonderful wife who has been (and remains) a constant source of encouragement, but also my Guide Dog Kika who motivates me daily. Together, we will continue to work to show that the smallest gestures and adjustments in attitude can have the biggest and most positive impact – empowering everyone to continue striving for change.”

Pictured below: Amit with Kika and his award

Dr Amit Patel with Guide Dog Kika and his award

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The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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