RAY OF hope for THE blind

LESSON: Many schools for the blind lack Braille, an indispensable learning
tool for the blind.  Pic:
ALON SKUY. 11/07/2009. © Sowetan.
Bongi Nkosi reads brail at The Sibonile School for the Blind in Klipriver. 11/09/07. PICTURE: ALON SKUY
LESSON: Many schools for the blind lack Braille, an indispensable learning tool for the blind. Pic: ALON SKUY. 11/07/2009. © Sowetan. Bongi Nkosi reads brail at The Sibonile School for the Blind in Klipriver. 11/09/07. PICTURE: ALON SKUY

ERIC Mkhwanazi and his colleagues in economic development have united to raise funds for the Magaye School for the Blind in Imbali township, outside Pietermaritzburg.

ERIC Mkhwanazi and his colleagues in economic development have united to raise funds for the Magaye School for the Blind in Imbali township, outside Pietermaritzburg.

Mkhwanazi said he and his friends had embarked on the project to help the blind at the school.

"We were struck by the challenges faced by adult students who can't see," Mkhwanazi said. Life is so much easier for the sighted. For the blind it is an uphill battle. They cannot move about freely.

"To read in Braille they need expensive equipment, which many cannot afford. Yet those we met aspire to achieve."

Mkhwanazi, who is studying business leadership at Unisa, said the school had an enrolment of 76 partially sighted and blind students.

The school was founded by its principal, Bawinile Mdunyela, in 2002 with only 14 students. The number has risen to 76 students, nine teachers, three security personnel and two kitchen staff.

The association secured National Lottery sponsorship for Braille equipment in 2003.

"The school is operating under pressing challenges, including a shortage of Braille equipment, an essential learning tool for the blind.

"They are also short of funds for teachers' salaries and other school needs," Mkhwanazi said.

Principal Mdunyela said she was grateful for the support.

"As a student at university I had to fight against all forms of prejudice and developed an interest in helping other blind children. Blind people are able to academically achieve far more than just arts and crafts."

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