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The RW Bowen Award 2016 goes to...

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The South African National Council for the Blind is pleased to announce that Mr Phillip Bam, former Executive Director and current Vice President of the League of Friends of the Blind (LOFOB) is the recipient of the RW Bowen Award 2016.

The RW Bowen Award is the highest honour bestowed by the SANCB for the lifelong meritorious service to the Blind Community. This prestigious award was presented by the SANCB Chairperson, Mr Lesibana Movundlela, at a special event held on 16 March at the LOFOB centre, Cape Town.

Mr Philip Bam has made major contributions in the blindness sector over the years, notably the development of the LOFOB services especially the Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme. LOFOB’s ECD programme was established 28 years ago and its impact is evident in the development of young blind adults now returning to LOFOB for further services. He served the SANCB as Vice Chairman and on many of its sub committees. He supported the then President of the World Blind Union, Dr William Rowland in his work at the United Nations to create the Convention On The Rights of Persons With Disabilities. Mr Bam was also instrumental in establishing a local blind women's forum to ensure that blind women had a voice in this sector. This later led to the establishment of the South African Blind Women in Action (SABWIA).

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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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Seeing is believing

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A cataract blitz in the North West province in June 2015 restored the gift of sight to many happy people.

For people like 81-year-old Simon, 69-year-old John and 77-year old Sarah, the surgery felt like a miracle. Cataracts had steadily diminished their vision until only their perception of light remained. Simon could no longer tend to his herd of cattle and thieves took advantage of this, while Sarah and John were totally reliant on family and neighbours to see to their daily needs.

Simon was blind for two years; John for three years; and Sarah for four years. These were long, hard years. But then the cataract team from our Bureau for the Prevention of Blindness restored sight to these three – and many others too.

They had held little hope of ever seeing again – but seeing is believing! Their vision is much improved and they are again able to do things for themselves, restoring their dignity and independence.

We thank everyone who helps to keep the wheels of the mobile clinics turning, and for making the cataract blitzes possible.

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

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A sensory experience!

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In August 2015, nine training specialists from Absa Pretoria joined us for a sensitisation training session.

They participated enthusiastically in the day’s activities, which included working on a computer wearing simulation glasses, having to move from one building to another with a white cane, and shopping for ingredients to prepare a meal.

The experience gave the participants an idea of the challenges that blind people face, and the potential of enabling mechanisms.

For more information on our sensitisation sessions, contact Marlene Swanepoel on 012 452 3811.

To make a donation now, click here

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Our Enterprise Shop turned 25

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Our famous Enterprise Shop celebrated its 25th birthday on 7 September 2015.

The Enterprise Shop is the window of our organisation, making life easier for visually impaired people and keeping them up to date with technology and gadgets.

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