Low or lost vision

Good news for our Resource Centre clients!

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It is a well-known fact that prices of assistive devices vary in accordance with the exchange rate. Most of the products which are crucial for visually impaired persons to live independent lives, are imported from overseas, which increases the prices, making it very difficult for our constituency to afford some products. High unemployment rates, particularly in rural areas, exacerbate the situation.

The SANCB realised that something needed to be done to make assistive devices more accessible to the blind and partially sighted persons that we serve. The National Management Committee held a meeting and a number of essential products, such as coin selectors, white canes and liquid level indicators were identified and our Resource Centre prices on a number of products will be drastically reduced effective 1 April 2017. Please click here for the list of items.

*Please note that these reduced prices are only applicable to individual clients, and may still be subject to change according to fluctuations in the Rand’s exchange rate with other currencies.

Call the Resource Centre on 012 452 3811 or e-mail resource@sancb.org.za for enquiries and quotations.
 


 

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High hopes for Marrakesh

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In case you haven’t heard, the Marrakesh Treaty came into force on 30 September 2016. It seeks to boost the volume of texts for blind and print disabled people around the world. This is vital, because currently only about 10% of published materials are available in accessible formats, such as Braille, large print and audio.


Hanif Kruger, SANCB’s Resource Centre Manager, is excited about this. “There is a worldwide book famine for blind or print disabled people. The Marrakesh Treaty aims to alleviate this shortage of material. I’m also looking at our government to clean up the Copyright Act so that we can provide education and opportunities to all people who are deserving of it.”
 

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Building bridges that lead to fulfilling lives

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This year, Optima College welcomed 11 new faces – 10 new students and a new principal, Eugene Matshwane.

Eugene is determined to build on Optima’s proud legacy of empowering students with the skills they need to cross bridges and lead fulfilling lives. “My first priority is to ensure that Optima offers reputable courses which are differentiated to suit the learning needs of students; the second is to ensure that the college responds to students’ learning needs within the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) environment; and the third is to challenge the college to grow in other provinces in order to respond to the ever increasing educational needs of the blind.”

As a partially sighted person, Eugene has served on various organisations for persons with special needs and is passionate about education for the visually impaired. He has a postgraduate certificate in education and honours in professional psychology of education. He is currently pursuing his masters in inclusive education.

Eugene previously worked as an Adult Based Education Training instructor at Tshimologo ABET Centre, and as an educator for learners with disabilities at Bartimea School for the Deaf and Blind.

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Optima students reach for their dreams

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In 2016, Optima will be empowering more students to reach their dreams. One of them is Wendell Botha, a 31-year-old from Geluksdal, in the East Rand.

Formerly a salesman, Wendell’s world came crumbling down two years ago when damage to his optic nerve caused irreversible blindness. But he was inspired to turn his life around after one of our Social Inclusion Officers Lynne Proctor introduced him to Optima College and offered him his first white cane.

In October 2015, Wendell completed Call Centre Training and mastered the use of his white cane through Orientation and Mobility Training. Proficient in seven South African languages and naturally sociable, Wendell has the potential to go far in the call centre environment. “Today I feel optimistic about my future. I’m actively looking for a job and want to work my way to the top,” he says.

Thank you for your role in helping Wendell tap his way to independence.

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Inaugural lecture by Prof. Maguvhe

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Titled "Walking down the road of academia: an account of a visually impaired person," the inaugural lecture by Professor Mbulaheni Obert Maguvhe  focuses on the road he traversed from childhood to where he is today.

With this personal account, Professor Maguvhe aims to give attendees of his inaugural lecture a sense of who he really is and acquaint other academics who may be interested with his personal life in general and for research in particular.

Click here to access the full document

About Prof. Maguvhe:

Currently the chairman of the board at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), Prof Maguvhe is the former head of the SANCB's Education Division and continues to play a consulting role by offering his expertise on 'Inclusive Education' to the visually impaired communities . He is also board member of our Optima FET College.

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World Glaucoma Week

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It is World Glaucoma Week (WGW), 6-12 March 2016.

The purpose of this week is to raise awareness of glaucoma, what it does to sight, and how it might affect you.

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that cause progressive damage of the optic nerve at the point where it leaves the eye to carry visual information to the brain. If left untreated, most types of glaucoma progress (without warning nor obvious symptoms to the patient) towards gradually worsening visual damage and may lead to blindness. Once incurred, visual damage is mostly irreversible, and this has led to glaucoma being described as the “silent blinding disease” or the “sneak thief of sight”.

Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness worldwide, and the leading cause of irreversible blindness, yet 90% could have been prevented. It is estimated that 4.5 million persons globally are blind due to glaucoma. There is no cure for glaucoma as yet, and vision loss is irreversible. However medication or surgery can halt or slow-down any further vision loss. Therefore early detection is essential to limiting visual impairment and preventing the progression towards blindness.

Your eye-care professional can detect glaucoma in its early stages and advise you on the best course of action.

What can you do to prevent Glaucoma?

Regular eye exams are the best form of prevention against significant glaucoma damage. Early detection and careful, lifelong treatment can maintain vision in most people.

In general, a check for glaucoma should be done:

• before age 40, every two to four years

• from age 40 to age 54, every one to three years

• from age 55 to 64, every one to two years

• after age 65, every six to 12 months

Anyone with high risk factors should be tested every year or two after the age of 35.

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Love in Action

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Over 20 elderly residents from Love in Action Community Care Old Age Home were provided with free eye screening and treatment last year. We visited the home in partnership with Lions Club Centurion and Hillsong Church.

Vision loss among the elderly is a common and serious problem. Thank you to our partners for helping us show the elderly that their vision is important to us.

To make a donation now, click here

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Burning a candle for blindness

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The South African National Council for the Blind hosted a candlelight vigil to commemorate International World Sight Day on 8 October 2015 to highlight the plight of people living with curable blindness.

For over 60 years, our Bureau for the Prevention of Blindness has provided mobile services to communities across South Africa, offering ongoing cataract blitzes, eye screening and the provision of ready-made affordable spectacles, among other services.

It’s part of our commitment to end avoidable blindness by 2020 – a huge undertaking considering that about 80% of blindness is avoidable.

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Greeting each day with a smile

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Nonki
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Being happy and putting on a bright smile is a conscious decision that Nonhlanhla Nkosi makes every day. Nonki, as she is fondly known, is our Gauteng provincial support officer.

As a visually impaired social worker, Nonki believes that people should be empowered. “Getting visually impaired people to believe in themselves is difficult, as they often have others who do everything for them, preventing them from becoming independent individuals,” she says.

Another challenge is changing the mindset of those who don’t believe in the abilities of visually impaired persons.Lack of resources, access to information, education and employment opportunities are other challenges. Nonki does not let this stand in her way and her positive and determined attitude has helped her obtain a BA in Social Sciences and a postgraduate diploma in marketing.

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Take special care when you see a white cane

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White Cane Safety Day
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The white cane has come a long way!

It’s no longer just a device that helps a blind person safely navigate their surroundings, but is a symbol of their independence and ability to come and go as they please. That’s why we always celebrate International White Cane Safety Day in October with a series of national and provincial walks.

Lafarge is our long-time partner in our national walk, which was held in Bloemfontein.

In the Western Cape, St Dunstan’s Association for South African War-Blinded Veterans hosted their Long Cane Rally in Green Point. The SANCB hosted its first rally in Mafikeng, sponsored by the North West Department of Health – whose staff went the extra mile by walking blindfolded.

Let’s hope that this growing event helps create greater awareness about the challenges of travelling alone with a white cane, and encourages motorists to take special care when they see people using a white cane.

To renew your support and make a donation now, click here

 

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