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Deaf township kids win award

KHAYELITSHA'S Whisper Boat Building Academy for the deaf has won a prestigious international boat-building award.

The prize of about R173 000 will be handed over on November 16 during the Marine Equipment Trading Show in Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

This show is the meeting place of boat builders from around the world.

WBBA founder Peter Jacops said the award was "massive international recognition for the work we are doing here in Khayelitsha".

"Secondly, we are in desperate need of funds," he said. "Last year's recession also affected us, so the money will be well spent. We will use it to extend our curriculum and take on more students.

"We will also invest part of the funds in sourcing and employing interpreters and new teachers as well as introducing more technologies."

Originally from Belgium, Jacops started the academy shortly after arriving in Cape Town six years ago. He tries to employ disabled people.

"Disabled youngsters have an even a bigger problem when it comes to finding work ... that is why they end up weaving baskets. There is nothing wrong with that, but to me it is not enough to empower people.

"A handicap should not prevent one from obtaining a skill or a trade that is in high in demand."

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