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Deafblind awareness week

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24-30 June is Deafblind Awareness Week. Deafblindness is a unique sensory disability of combined loss of hearing and vision which significantly affects communication, socialisation, orientation and mobility, access to and daily living. If you would like to find out more about this disability - for example how deafblind people communicate - please click here to download an information brochure.

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KZN Vacancy for O & M Instructor

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Logo of KZN Blind and Deaf Society
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The Pietermaritzburg office of the KwaZulu-Natal Blind and Deaf Society is in search of a qualified Orientation & Mobility Instructor that meets the following criteria for the above vacancy:

REQUIREMENTS

  • A good understanding of blindness or poor vision and their implications.
  • A currently valid manual code 08 driver’s license.
  • A relevant Orientation & Mobility qualification.
  • Ability to communicate clearly in English and Zulu.
  • Willingness to learn Sign Language and become familiar with deaf culture.
  • An interest in social developmental work.

RESPONSIBILITIES, TASKS AND DUTIES

  • Assessing blind and partially-sighted clients’ needs for assistive devices and training them in their use.
  • Collaborating with clients, their families and carers as appropriate to meet their needs.
  • Analyzing clients’ home environment and where appropriate modifying it according to needs.
  • Training clients in Orientation and Mobility skills and those of daily living.
  • Assessing clients’ general situation, developing appropriate instructional programs and providing basic instruction.
  • Helping clients to familiarize themselves with community transportation systems.
  • Providing in-centre and community-based instruction.
  • Involvement in public education and advocacy.
  • Undertaking general tasks and duties as may be allocated from time to time.
  • Participating in at least four approved fundraising activities per annum.

The closing date for applications is Wednesday 26th June 2013; CVs to be emailed to prcadmin@telkomsa.net or faxed to 033 3979678. For queries please contact Anand Naicker on 033 3979720.
 

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41st Biennial Conference

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Photo of delegates at the 40th Biennial Conference
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Arrangements for Council's 41st Biennial Conference is in full swing. As the name suggests, the conference is held every two years. This year the conference will be held in Durban, KwaZulu Natal.

Delegates who are planning to attend the conference, can click here to download the official communique which will give more information on processes like registration and accommodation.

There are also numerous sponsorship opportunities available to supporters. If you would like to become involved in supporting the "Blind Parliament", please contact Nishen Naicker by email: nishen@sancb.org.za

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Casual Day Regional Meetings

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Picture of a carnival with the words "Go Big", "sticker R10", and 6 September
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Member Organisations who would like to participate in the Casual Day Campaign in order to benefit from it, are urged to attend regional meetings which will be held during May. The member organisation keeps 40% for every sticker sold by the member organisation – (stickers are still R10 each – therefore the member organisation keeps R4.00 per sticker).

Council and Member Organisations can increase the total revenue received from this initiative by increasing the sales of Casual Day stickers, t-shirts and caps.

The total pot of money raised by Casual Day is distributed as follows:
• The administrators of the event, the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in SA (NCPPDSA) receives 50%;
• the other six major beneficiaries (of which Council is one) 5% each; and
• the balance of 20% is divided between beneficiaries according to the proportion of the total pot raised by their respective sectors.

Member Organisations who wish to take up this opportunity need to register with Casual Day directly.

The organisers also expressed their willingness to add additional venues, should the area be too large to travel to an existing venue, and if there are enough organisations requesting a meeting in a particular area. If you would like to request an additional meeting, please liaise with the organisers directly.

Please find the regional meeting reply form by clicking here. This form also has the details about dates and locations of the meetings. Upon completion, please fax the form to 011 452 6583, or e-mail it to info@casualday.co.za.

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Pioneer Printers's latest books

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Pioneer Printers is the literature production unit of the Pioneer School for the Visually Impaired. The printers provide learning, reading and teaching support material in braille, audio sound and large print formats to blind and partially sighted persons in South Africa and neighboring countries. They specialize in the reproduction of school textbooks and examination papers of any learning area into braille, audio sound and large print.

A list of their available books can be downloaded in pdf format here.

Click here to visit Pioneer Printers' website.

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Call for nominations to serve on SALB Board

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In accordance with section 6(1) of the South African Library for the Blind Act, 1998 (Act No. 91 of 1998), the Minister of Arts and Culture is in the process of reconstituting the Board of the South African Library for the Blind (SALB), a public entity and associated institution of the Department of Arts and Culture, for the term 1 October 2013 to 30 September 2016. The Board is reconstituted every three years.

Nominations of suitable candidates to be considered for appointment to the Board of the SALB by the Minister are hereby invited. A Chairperson and six to eight members will be appointed in their personal capacities to serve on a part-time basis. (Please note: This is not an advertisement for a post). Board members will be remunerated as determined by the Minister of Arts and Culture, in concurrence with the Minister of Finance. In addition to this remuneration, reasonable travel and subsistence expenses for attendance of Board meetings will be paid by the SALB. The Board convenes at least 4 times per year, usually in Grahamstown.

The core functions of the SALB Board will be the formulation of policies, the approval of the budget and financial statements, to advise on the appointment of senior staff, and to advise the Minister about matters concerning the SALB in accordance with the South African Library for the Blind Act, 1998 (Act No. 91 of 1998).

Nominees should represent stakeholders who have the necessary skills to assist the SALB in achieving its goals. Nominees must have knowledge of library and information services, expertise in matters affecting blind and print-handicapped readers in general, knowledge of the production of braille and audio material for the blind and print-handicapped reader, knowledge of applicable technologies used by the target group, expertise in managerial, financial with specific reference to the Public Finance Management Act, auditing and related compliance legislation as well as human resource matters, and knowledge of marketing, liaison, fund-raising and the application of Information Communication Technology.

The closing date for nominations is Friday, 22 February 2013.

Further information, including a copy of the official nomination form (with its Annexures, in the form of templates), as well as relevant legislation, may be obtained in electronic or paper format from:

Mr A Roos
Department of Arts and Culture
Private Bag X236
PRETORIA
0001

Tel. (012) 441-3211
Fax: 086-529-5676
E-mail: andre.roos@dac.gov.za

 

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Institute for the Blind latest news

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(By Cathy Hugo)

Listed!

The Institute for the Blind Information Centre (Blindiana Museum and Tactile Fossil Trail) has been listed on SA-Venues! Please click below to browse the site and find out more :


http://www.sa-venues.com/things-to-do/westerncape/blindiana-museum


http://www.sa-venues.com/things-to-do/westerncape/fossil-trail

Photo of the Blindiana MuseumPhoto of children looking at a fossil

 

Our wonderful volunteers

Below is a photo of our very enthusiastic and special circle of friends from the “Church of Christ Bibly Study Group” that took the sicky-bay at our Brevis Home for the Aged under their wing as a community project and painting it a bright, sunny yellow! The encouraging words against the wall echoes their sincere love and care, which is now weaved into the sunny walls and in every resident and visitors heart! We are grateful for our volunteers!

A group photo of the volunteers

 

The Extra Mile
 

Friday, 15 June, the Institute for the Blind celebrated 131 years of existence! To commemorate this day a special day of music and treats was arranged and all also had the opportunity to commit to walking the extra mile for the Institute with their handprint on our special "wall of commitment"!


Photo of a blind person making a handprint on the wall

 

Dare to challenge your senses

- on 1 September 2012 at our Blind Spot Theatre, Worcester during a unique food and wine pairing and blindfolded tactile fossil tour!

Please click here for the invitation.

 

Children's Morning

During the recent school holidays, the Institute for the Blind arranged an exciting children’s morning! The enthusiastic group of 48 children had the opportunity to explore our unique tactile fossil trail, decipher braille clues during a treasure hunt and were delighted to touch an enormous python! Thank you to Breede Valley Municipality for sponsoring the reptile show.
 

Children touching a huge python
 

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Celebrating 75 years of service in KZN

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Phopto of 2 women in a village, in front of aq hut, busy with mobility training
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By Shamila Surjoo

Now in its 75th year, KwaZulu-Natal Blind and Deaf Society has undergone several paradigm shifts and regular intensification of its aims and objectives. This comes after growth in knowledge, new international perspectives on disability (such as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) and changes in South African legislation, notably the Constitution, Bill of Rights and the Employment Equity Act, which for the first time entrenched the rights of persons with disabilities.

Today, the legal impact of personal rights, including compulsory education, employment targets for persons with disabilities and their right to equality in law, services and access to the benefits of our democracy have transformed the Society into an education, rehabilitation, skills development and training provider. The Society is presently capable of enabling, empowering and advocating for all its clients, young, old or multi-disabled.

The vision of our founders set the goals, and with shifting targets throughout the seven decades, those who followed built on the foundations to raise the value of the Society as a premier service institution for blind, deaf and deafblind persons in the province. Not only does it own its headquarters in Durban and a Rehabilitation Centre in Pietermaritzburg, it also owns two leading schools, in Durban (V.N. Naik School for the Deaf) and in Pietermaritzburg (Arthur Blaxall School for the Blind). In addition, the Society established the Durban School for the Hearing Impaired - housed on State property in Amanzimtoti. Through these institutions, hundreds pass each year equipped for tertiary education, the world of work, fitted to live independent and dignified lives.

Society’s growth may be measured by the range and variety of its services:
Rehabilitation and Development Services being one of its main focus areas– channelling access to resources, such as health, education, skills development and economic development. The Rehabilitation and Development Services further encompasses independence skills training (skills of daily living and orientation and mobility), job placement and early childhood development through a multi disabled support programme.

Skills training for adults are provided by Optima College KwaZulu-Natal at its two campuses- Durban and Pietermaritzburg. Courses include telephony training, CCTV surveillance for deaf students, reflexology, call centre training, Braille and South African Sign Language training. The Adult Basic Education project has a wider reach through the Society’s training and supervision of Kha Ri Gude and Masifundisane National and Provincial projects. In addition, interpreter and communication services are provided to public service providers such as clinics, police stations and hospitals.

The Pietermaritzburg Rehabilitation Centre has established a successful hydroponics farming project which is both a funding instrument and a training facility in plant husbandry, business and agricultural management. The project runs in tandem with the services of a protected workshop for clients in Pietermaritzburg. The Society recognises that skills development is an important means to empower persons with disabilities and has implemented many skills development programmes and currently offers training in basket weaving and beadwork. In addition to the audiology facilities provided at the V.N. Naik School and the Durban School for the Hearing Impaired, a fully fledged audiology and Eye Clinic are being established at its headquarters in Durban to coincide with the Society’s 75th anniversary .

The Advocacy Committee of the Society represents the needs and rights of disabled commuters, clients and employees. The Employment Equity Act, as it enshrines the rights of blind and deaf employees, and the Bill of Rights are used in the protection and representation of clients who are being disadvantaged at the work place.

It has been a long, but fruitful journey for members of the Society - from being part of the Natal Bantu Society formed by Mrs Constance Cawston and then revived by the Reverend Paul Sykes and then led ably by Mr. Kunnabiran Pillay - an inspired visionary who laid the foundation of a unique institution. Fortunately, the commitment of Mr. Cassim Bassa, who followed him, saw the establishment of a mobile eye care clinic and blindness prevention campaigns throughout the province. During his leadership the schools were established as fully fledged centres of excellence and became trendsetters for the education of blind and deaf persons. Chairmen who followed Mr. Bassa were – Mr. J. Kissoon Singh and his son Mr. A. Kisson Singh - both lawyers and Mr. R.R. Pillay who added value through his experience in education of deaf persons. Presently, Mr. K. R. Sitaram has experience in education, rehabilitation, welfare services and old age and child care.

The Society has provided South Africa with exceptional leadership from among its students who have transcended barriers, to achieve the highest distinction in academic standards and in quality of services. Among them are Justice Zak Yacoob of the S.A. Constitutional Court, Praveena Sukraj-Ely of the Justice Department, Siva Moodley of the Disability Unit at UNISA - who all hold doctoral degrees. Mr. Jace Nair who is presently the first person of colour to head the South African National Council for the Blind, and Mr. Bruno Druchen who heads DeafSA.

The KwaZulu-Natal Blind and Deaf Society has travelled the long road through penury and despair to success and distinction. It has located itself among the best practice institutions in the Republic of South Africa.

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Institute's Snoezelen area

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Kobus Basson, Stephné Grobler (Occupational Therapist) and Donovan Bandjies spen
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The Institute for the Blind is privileged to launch its own Snoezelen area soon. This therapeutic area focuses on multi-sensory stimulation that assists persons with disabilities to learn how to react to stimulation of the different senses.  The Institute for the Blind’s Snoezelen area is adapted to cater for the specific needs of persons with visual impairments and persons with multiple disabilities.

The Snoezelen area consists of four stimulation areas. There is an area where participants are able to rid themselves of frustrations and negative emotions in a constructive manner, or where they can enter into consultation with the Occupational Therapist.

The self-discovery and exploration area is equipped with a uniquely formed seating area where participants learn to explore their environment and are motivated to move within a safe area. In the Cane Cocoon, the participant experiences a nurturing environment where they can limit the amount of external interference. A suspension frame with a harness is mounted in front of a mirror where physically disabled persons that are unable to weight-bear, can take part in standing activities. Here they can also experience the positive effects the act of standing has on their self-esteem and body image.

The aromatherapy area includes reflexology, massage and aromatherapy. This will also be implemented as a training centre for persons with visual impairments to be trained in aromatherapy and massage.

In the interaction area, multi-sensory stimulation is offered through a ball pool where participants are able to move in the ball pool to experience constant physical stimulation. There is also a light interaction box where exercises involving actions and reactions are done. The sound box gives a dual sensory experience as users can feel the music through vibrations and persons with hearing problems can make use of the FM system to hear music directly into their hearing aids.

This unique therapeutic area was implemented and is coordinated by ms Stephné Grobler: Institute for the Blind Occupational Therapist. 

Photo: from left to right Kobus Basson, Stephné Grobler (Occupational Therapist) and Donovan Bandjies spending time in the cane cocoon.

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Higher Ground camps for visually impaired persons - a campers experience

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A Campers Experience – My first Higher Ground camp!

 

-- By Dewald van Dewenter, Higher Ground camp for adults with a visual impairment, January 2011 in the Western Cape.

The week of the 15th to the 21st of January 2011 I went to my first Higher Ground camp. It was an amazing week jam-packed with activities, games and all sorts of fun stuff.  I never had a week like this before, and I will never forget it.  I met a lot of new people. There wasn't one person I have met before.  Some were familiar on the email mailing lists etc. but, others I have never heard of.

A group of blind people chatting to each other, in small groups, sharing experiences, and doing fun stuff together blind people won't usually do on normal camps.  On a camp for seeing eyes, I would probably have said, no thank you, if they should ask me if i would like to go kayaking with them.

But at this camp all the blind campers took off their blindfolds of fear and uncertainty, and just: DID IT.

The sighted volunteers, Kerneels and Emma, Elaine, Bronwill and Morris, and 6 Christian Missionaries from America "Sarah, Blake, Will, Carrie, Alexandra and Heidi", served us with their love, patience, willingness, and also with delicious food.  We felt like kings and queens.

They prompted us to do extreme things, which I would probably not do on my own, like for instance, swim in the cold cold freezing water at Wortelgat's beach, and, jump off a 2-3 meter sand dune on the beach.

We did all kinds of activities, like:

  • Hiking, fast or slow, through the lovely bushveld;
  • Kayaking on the lagoon next to the mountain, a blind person with a sighted volunteer.  We had lots of fun, and I expected to fall off the kayak into the water, but I didn't hear of one person falling off by accident.  We had lots of fun, bumping into each other on purpose, racing, and accidentally, run right into the reeds, and blaming each other for it;
  • Archery: We had to try and shoot three balloons on the target. Well, I got at least one, the other arrows were quite near. Each person had a try, and the volunteers helped us aim in the "general" direction, and shoot. It was exciting;
  • Voyage on the Catamaran on the Klein River: Some sat on the ground floor, watching the captain do his job supervising him where to turn, and some actually had a chance of feeling how he steered the big boat through the raging waters of the river.  Some sat on top, on the deck above, gazing out on the gardens with roses, the mountains, stretching up to the clouds, and the valleys, down below, where cows and horses could be seen, happily grazing.  We stopped at a spot in the lagoon where we jumped off the boat, into the water, and swam there, with no limitation of the sides of a pool at home, and nothing beneath our feet but water;
  • Horse riding on a bush trail that winds through veld and up the mountain, past vineyards.  Some were scared at first, but some, like me, enjoyed it immensely.
  • Team challenges: We had all sorts of games like puzzles and clues the team had to figure out, or musical questions we had to answer, live Cluedo we played, and some drama we performed, radio shows, the cool talent show, where every person showed the rest what he or she could do the best.

 And when we had time off, the whole group split up in small groups, playing 30 Seconds, Chess, Dominos, card games, or just chilled.  We also had two of the volunteers reading a book for us, and they sounded like two people which any blind person would like to here reading a book on their computer, on CD, or on tape or MP3 Player.

But, as i'm finishing up, there was one thing that stood up the most, through all the activities, and fun things we did:  It was the 6 volunteers from the US, who, each day, brought a message out of the Bible, which the Lord gave to them, which were really edifying and uplifting, which formed the foundation of that day, and of the whole camp.

So, I was very reluctant and sad to say goodbye to everybody at camp, and going back to life. Because it really felt like dreaming.

For details on the camps, send an email to Emma or call her on  0 72 039 0907 or visit their website.

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