The Vierenden der Blinden was originally established in 1885 as a charity association. The non-profit organization helps to improve the well-being of people with vision loss in the widest and most diverse form. Friends of the Blind is active throughout Belgium. Koksijde is home to a training center for guide dogs as well as a non-profit organization for social service for the blind.
The dogs are trained by 8 trainers at the training center. They teach animals to guide the blind and visually impaired to climb stairs, avoid obstacles, and follow specific routes. Trainers train fifteen dogs each year, but they cannot meet all needs. Anyone who wants a guide dog for the blind has to wait for three years. Training a dog costs more than 25,000 euros. The Flemish Agency for Disabled Persons pays half. The rest comes from donations. The dog is free of charge for the blind or visually impaired.
The training center in Koksijde also organizes guided tours. September 9 is the open day.