Raffles > Zürich Raffle Beneficiary
Forum Raffle Beneficiary 2007, Zürich —
The Foundation of the Swiss School for
Guide Dogs for the Blind
The Foundation, founded in 1972 is under the supervision of the Swiss state.
Our mission is:
- to breed, rear and train guide dogs for the blind
- to introduce and provide after-care for guide dogs for the blind and the visually impaired in Switzerland and, where feasible, in neighboring regions across the border
- to cooperate with other schools for guide dogs in Switzerland and abroad as well as with the international umbrella organization, “International Guide Dog Federation"
- to support the interests of the blind and the visually impaired so as to improve their mobility in everyday life
A guide dog costs about CHF 65,000.-, however the visually-impaired person receives the dog free of charge. The costs are borne by the Swiss Federal invalid insurance organization and by our Foundation.
171 working units: 150 in Switzerland, 12 in Germany, 7 in France and 2 in Austria.
Total staff: 30 employees incl. part-time staff (totally 25.9 fulltime).
Financing of the guide dogs
All the services offered are free of charge to the blind and the visually impaired.
The school receives no state subsidies of any kind.
More than 80% of the school’s costs are financed by donations, financial contributions of all kinds and – gratifyingly – by a growing number of legacies and inheritances.
The guide dog learns to react correctly to about 30 spoken commands. This enables the visually impaired person, using the spoken command, to set the dog off in the desired direction and then to be guided to a specific location. During training, the guide dog learns to recognize obstacles as such and to react in appropriate manner. The commands are based on Italian words. The dogs are quickly able to tell the difference between these very distinct sounds.
The guide dog learns to guide in a straight line, to distinguish between left and right and to indicate or avoid obstacles of all kinds on the ground, to the side and at head height for its human companion.
The basic training also comprises locating pedestrian crossings, staircases, doors, ticket offices, vacant seats and public transport.