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A sneak peek at future education

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Assistive technologies are developing rapidly and as they filter into classrooms, visually impaired students can look forward to a much more engaging time at school.


SANCB’s former Resource Centre Manager, Adam Ely says “the classroom of the future is an interactive, multi-sensory learning experience catering to individual needs”.


Addressing delegates at SABC Eduweek Conference in Midrand on 29 June 2016, Adam explained that classrooms would include cutting edge assistive technology and interactive teaching tools such as digital textbooks, white boards, innovative teaching software, internet connectivity, screen reading and magnification software.


Edit Micro, SANCB’s partner in the project, said classrooms such as these help motivate and inspire learners to achieve their full potential.
 

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“We know there’s life after blindness.”

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Durban parents Ansie and Jacques didn’t hesitate when faced with the choice between saving their newborn’s life or her eyesight.

“It was more important to save our baby’s life than her sight. We know there’s life after blindness,” Ansie told me.

The family’s positive approach reminded me that early intervention is key to empowering visually impaired children.

That’s why, with Christmas around the corner, we’re hoping you’ll make your special donation by clicking here – to give blind children the nurturing they need to reach their own unique potential.

Baby Carla was born prematurely in April 2015. She spent many months in an incubator and unfortunately the high oxygen level cost Carla her sight. Yet, you might be amazed to hear her milestones are on par with a sighted child of her age. And if you can find it in your heart to send a Christmas gift today, we can continue helping Carla and enable other children to access the tools they need to keep on reaching those milestones!

Carla’s quick development is due to the dedicated attention of her parents and preschool teachers at Bright Eyes Preschool. And earlier this year we were delighted to be able to give Carla a complete early learning literacy kit which includes three packs of braille and tactile books and audio stories – and a giant panda with an audio device tucked in its backpack! It’ll keep her happily stimulated until the age of eight.

The SANCB’s Enterprise Shop stocks many other toys and gadgets, such as braille and talking watches, screen magnification software, and specially adapted games like Scrabble, Braille playing cards and Uno cards.

So please can we count on you to click here to send your gift to the SANCB today? If you do, you’ll be helping us to give amazing gifts like these to visually impaired children this Christmas – and all year round.

Picture Caption:  Carla's delighted with her new toy that our director, Antonius Spek,  personally delivered to her.

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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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World Glaucoma
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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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Crisis at our 22 special schools

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The ' Left in the Dark' report tells the story of neglect and denial of visually impaired children’s rights to basic education and equality – which amounts to a fundamental impairment of their human dignity. To read the full report, click here.

Failure to mobilise out of school learners, poor budgeting for special needs education, inadequate staff, insufficient training of teachers, access to learner-teacher support material in braille, lack of text books, broken Perkins braillers are just some of the major challenges our learners and schools face.

Where our grave concern lies is, if these challenges are not fixed immediately for our learners to enjoy equal education now, we are denying them the opportunity to be active contributors to society in future, instead contributing to poverty.

In response to this, we remain committed to ensuring no child is left behind and continue to call on our partners to assist us in making a difference while we lobby against our government’s failure. We are fixing broken braillers, presenting the needs of the learners to partners and prospects to raise sufficient funding to support our learners now. 

Let us join hands and raise awareness on these challenges.  If you have a rand to spare, make a donation earmarked for #EqualEducation activities.

We need you in this fight! We refuse to be written off!
 

 


 

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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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vigil
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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.

To  make a donation now, click here

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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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SANCB Growing Local Enterprises

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Our Social Inclusion & Support Officers attended a ‘Start and Improve your Business’ training of trainers programme at our head office in Pretoria. The training commenced on Sunday 10 January and concluded on Wednesday 20 January. The course is accredited by the International Labour Organisation.

Following the training, our officers will go back to their respective provinces and equip visually impaired run enterprises with the same skills, and empower them to become leading enterprises in their communities.

Congratulations to all 19 of our Social Inclusion and Support Officers for completing the ‘Start and Improve your Business’ training.

We are grateful to our funder Absa for partnering with us to empower and grow visually impaired entrepreneurs.

If you would also  like to help us empower visually impaired run enterprises click here or email Nishen Naicker
 

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Children living with blindness

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Zinokhanyo Nyangule and a Perkins Brailler
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When Zinokhanyo Nyangule was just a baby, doctors discovered she had retinoblastoma.

The cancer was advanced – and I’m sad to say that the surgery instantly left Zinokhanyo with permanent blindness. It was a terribly confusing time for this little girl.

But with the support from friends like you, we can help Zinokhanyo – and more blind children –grow into confident adults.

Please will you make your online donation here so we can continue to uplift young people living with blindness?

Zinokhanyo’s nearly eight now and attends a school for the blind. Even though she needed a Perkins brailler to continue learning at a fast pace, her parents couldn’t afford one.

And they worried that without it, her development would slow down.

Your support here will give more blind children the devices they need to succeed ... like braillers, folding white canes, pyramid clocks, braille rulers and coin selectors.

So please make your contribution here and give them a better chance of getting through school, and beyond.

But timing’s of the essence –when children learn to read braille in primary school, they read much better than when they learn it later in life.

That’s why we’re helping Zinokhanyo as quickly as possible. Our Resource Centre donated a refurbished brailler, braille paper, a talking calculator and a white cane to her.

We wish you could’ve seen her face when she received her gifts. She was so excited and is writing non-stop!

Please make your donation here today ... because there are few things more valuable to a blind child than education.


Zinokhanyo Nyangule and family

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