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Capacity building in education

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The SANCB’s Education and Training Division currently supports 22 schools, by promoting collaboration and information sharing around best practices in meeting the educational requirements of blind and partially sighted children and finding solutions to common challenges in special needs education leadership. The Principal’s Forum which was held on 20 and 21 April 2017 in the Optima Hall at our head office was one of these initiatives.

The forum, sponsored by M-TEK (Pty) Ltd, provided a platform for headmasters of the 22 schools to engage in discussions aimed at increasing the capacity and ability of schools to meet the needs of visually impaired children from early developmental stages, throughout the duration of their schooling career, and in preparation for further education and the workplace, with the following long term objectives in mind:

  •  Improved efficacy in learning and teaching;
  • Improvements in the matric pass rate;
  • Larger numbers of blind and partially sighted persons gaining access to tertiary education; and ultimately
  • Growth in the employment rate of visually impaired persons.

Bhavanisha Chanderparsadh, Manager of the organisation’s Fundraising and Public Relations Division, was the Programme Director and facilitated the forum discussion with assistance from Thomas Simelane, Education Officer from the Social Inclusion Division.

We hope to make this an annual event on the organisation’s calendar.
 

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A Child's Human Right ...

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... to Education

South Africa celebrated Human Rights Day on 21 March 2017. Although we have come a long way as a country, some fundamental rights as stipulated in our constitution have not yet been fulfilled.

Of an estimated 18 750 000 children in South Africa, it is estimated that around 11.2% have some form of a disability. Only around 2 out of 10 visually impaired children are reported to currently be admitted to school, compared to the ratio of children without disabilities which stands at 8:10. Many of those who are attending school, do not receive the support and reasonable accommodation which would allow for them to gain a quality education.

This short animated video illustrates the backlog in the education of visually impaired children's education.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Without a proper education, these children cannot gain knowledge and skills to prepare them for employment. If this backlog is not addressed now, in a few years we may potentially have more than 1 million persons of school leaving age who have been denied the opportunity to reach their potential, to live independent lives and to maintain a sustainable livelihood.

As part of our mandate, the SANCB has created the Leave No Child Behind campaign, of which the objective is to ensure that all blind and partially sighted children are identified and admitted to school at an early age. We aim to do this through advocacy and monitoring of compulsory registration of visually impaired children in accessible learning centers across South Africa. The campaign will also ensure that there are adequate learning materials and assistive devices such as Braille textbooks and Perkins Braillers in these centers.

If you would like to support this campaign, please contact our Fund Development Officer on 012 452 3811 or send an e-mail to fdo1@sancb.org.za.

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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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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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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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