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SA Braille Cup Competition 2017

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The SA Braille Cup Competition was conceived out of the Perkins idea of improving braille literacy and awareness in Africa. The first African Braille Cup Competition was held in Ghana in 2012. The SA Braille Cup Competition was firstly implemented in 2014 where five schools participated. It was a start-up project which involved parties such as the SANCB, Braille SA and the South African Braille Authority as well as the participating schools/district.

The stakeholders felt it’s a great initiative when viewed on the basis of its objective and thus proposed that such an undertaking be held biennially with the involvement of all the schools for visually challenged learners.

SANCB in partnership with Perkins International, Africa, Blind SA & the South African Braille Authority hosted Braille Cup 2017 on 28 September at Prinshof School, Pretoria culminating with a Gala Dinner at SANCB’s Optima College Hall.

The competition was divided into three categories as follows:

(a) Grade 6 to 7 (Primary School)

(b) Grade 8 to 9 (Junior High School)

(c) Grade 10 to 11 (Senior High School)

The competition covered 5 categories of braille literacy:

(a) Reading Comprehension

(b) Reading Fluency

(c) Spelling

(d) Proofreading

(e) Oral Presentation of an Essay

The overall results of the competition in each category were as follows:

Category One – Bosele School

Category Two – Filadelfia School

Category Three – Prinshof School

Our Guest Speakers Mr Jace Nair: CEO of Blind SA; Ms Angela Affran: Director, Africa Perkins International and Ntshavheni Netshituni: SA Braille Authority added value to the evening with their inspiring addresses.

Thank you to our very own Mr Modiri Eugene Matshwane: Acting NED & Principal of Optima College for his excellent Programme Directing skills throughout the evening.

Well done to all the participants and winners and a heartfelt THANK YOU to all who worked so tirelessly to ensure the success that the event turned out to be….

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Fundraising Gala Dinner!

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Fundraising Gala Dinner: 3 November 2017 – Protea Hotel Fire & Ice: Menlyn

Honourable Adv Tshililo Michael Masutha (MP), Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, is co-hosting a fundraising gala dinner in partnership with the South African National Council for the Blind, in recognition of the contribution of the blind and partially sighted towards South Africa’s social justice, transformation and development agenda.

The gala dinner aims to raise funds to assist all the 22 special public schools for the blind in South Africa (list is attached) with adaptive and assistive learning devices, library resources and other amenities. These resources are desperately needed by learners in these schools, given that their plight for a conducive learning environment is still largely unattended and/or insufficiently catered for in the mainstream public education system. The fundraising gala dinner arises out of an ongoing public private partnership between the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services, the Ministry of Arts and Culture, various provincial government departments in Limpopo province, Ditholwana Tsa Rena Community Development Trust (Anglo American PLC), the South African Library for the Blind, Polokwane Municipality, Siloe School for the Blind and other partners towards a fully equipped and technologically responsive library for the blind at Siloe School for the Blind, Thokgoaneng village, outside Polokwane in Limpopo province.

Just over R1.8 million was raised for this single project and the experience thereof is valuable in encouraging the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services and the South African National Council for the Blind to extend the initiative beyond Siloe School for the Blind. Minister Masutha is himself an alumni of the school, having completed both his primary/basic education and secondary schooling at Siloe School for the Blind between 1972 and 1984.

Minister Masutha went on to obtain a B Juris degree from the University of the North (now University of Limpopo) in 1988 as well as an LLB degree from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1989 despite his visual impairment. The gala dinner will be an annual event hosted in October, Eye Care Awareness month.

The event will formally recognize and celebrate the contribution of the blind and partially sighted in South Africa. In addition, the role of blind individuals who made strides in different sporting, professional and academic fields needs to be amplified to encourage young blind and partially sighted learners as well as other blind people who continue to struggle to adjust and cope in a world where social conditions continue to impose unreasonable barriers and impediments to wellbeing and success. Best performing matriculants and university students will also be recognized and awarded for their excellence in the near future.

The date for the inaugural gala dinner is set for the 3rd of November 2017 at the Fire and Ice Protea Hotel, Tshwane (Pretoria). It is kindly requested that companies willing to donate and attend the event notify the organisers before the 30th of September 2017. Companies purchasing a table or seats are encouraged to include blind and partially sighted employees and stakeholders in their delegation.

Standard corporate tables of 10 people each will be selling at R100 000 (10 000 per person) and will include a three course meal, a soft drink and water for each guest. A cash bar will also be available.

Companies and individuals not in a position to attend can still make a separate pledge or donation into the following account:

Name of Account: South African National Council for the Blind

Bank: Standard Account Type: Current

Branch: Thibault Square

Branch Code: 051001

Account Number: 070508704

Ref: GALA2017

Kindly contact Mr Thwadi Komane: Director – Special Projects, Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services (+27 60 984 5360, Thwadi.komane@dcs.gov.za ) or Ms Bhavanisha Chanderparsadh: Divisional Manager - Fundraising and Public Relations, South African National Council for the Bind (012 452 3811/ +27 72 494 7271, bhavanisha@sancb.org.za ) for further discussion and clarity.

Looking forward to your participation and/or donation towards this noble cause

Sincerely,

T M Masutha, Adv (MP) Minister of Justice and Correctional Services

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Register for WCSD Fun Walk!

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The SA National Council for the Blind is inviting all individuals, organisations, schools for persons with visual impairments and interested businesses, to join us for the WHITE CANE SAFETY DAY FUN WALK to create awareness for visually impaired persons using our Roads. We encourage visually impaired participants to walk with their mobility canes and sighted participants to wear blindfolds.

How to take part:

Complete the attached Application Form and return to:

https://tinyurl.com/yb67yxtp
marlene@sancb.org.za / admin@sancb.org.za

Closing date for Registration:

Wednesday, 11 October 2017 @ 12h00

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Myopia is thriving in modern society

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Myopia – or near-sightedness – is becoming more widespread and is expected to become even more prevalent, possibly because people are spending longer periods on tasks using near vision, such as reading and using electronic devices. Myopia is the most common refractive error in SA and it’s normally simply an inconvenience that results in blurry vision when looking at objects in the distance. But there are instances where the condition is progressive and severe, and can result in severe visual impairment. The most common treatment is correction with glasses or contact lenses. Many people opt for laser refractive surgery, while other treatment involves wearing special contact lenses to reshape the cornea, or having intra-ocular lenses surgically implanted in the eyes. It’s essential that you and your children have your eyes checked at least every two years, or if you have difficulty seeing distant objects or experience squinting, eye strain and headaches.

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Take advantage of lower prices

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Prices have been slashed so much at the SANCB’s Resource Centre that you’ll be forgiven for thinking we’re having a sale. But it’s not a sale – it’s part of our drive to make assistive devices more accessible to blind and partially sighted persons. The high cost of assistive devices prohibits many people from owning products which are crucial to independent living.

Prices have drastically reduced anywhere from 4% to 68% from 1 April 2017. The classic standard Perkins Brailler costs 21% less at R11 500, the Liquid Level Indicator is 43% cheaper at R185, while an Ambutech folding cane is 13% cheaper at R330.

One of the main factors contributing to prices is the exchange rate, because most of these items are imported. Prices may fluctuate according to the exchange rate but we’ll strive to keep them lower for as long as possible.

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Welcome windfall

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The SANCB was honoured to receive a generous US$2000 grant from the prestigious Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) Foundation towards our Leave No Child Behind campaign.

The campaign aims to ensure that all blind and partially sighted children are identified and admitted to school at an early age; while also seeking to ensure that there are adequate learning materials and assistive devices.

We extend a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to the MDRT Foundation for their generosity.

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Let’s celebrate our colourful nation

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The first Friday of September is Casual Day, SA’s foremost fundraising campaign for persons with disabilities. This year’s theme is “Celebrate Diversity with Persons with Disabilities” to underscore the goal of building a society that embraces and celebrates diversity. The stickers, which are shaped like brightly-coloured puzzle pieces, cost R10 each and there’s an exciting range of merchandise including kids and adults golf shirts, caps and bucket hats. Please support the SANCB by purchasing your Casual Day stickers and merchandise from us. Contact 012 452 3811 or marlene@sancb.org.za for more information.

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Reshmika makes her mark

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Optima College administrator, Reshmika Dowling, cherishes her work with visually impaired persons.

“It’s rewarding to know that each day I make a difference in someone’s life. Even more so when you see what students go on to accomplish after Optima. Optima truly does amazing work,” says Reshmika.

Reshmika’s partially sighted, as a result of both congenital cataracts and glaucoma, and is married with three children.

Although her plate is full, she’s satisfied knowing that at the end of each day, she has made a positive mark on the world.

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Save the Date: 14 October 2017

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We always celebrate two important events in October – International White Cane Safety Day and World Sight Day – with a fun walk. The event is aimed at creating awareness about the importance of a white cane as a tool of independence for visually impaired persons – and we encourage sighted participants to do at least part of the walk blindfolded. Last year we hosted a 3.5km walk from our Pretoria head office and we were joined by 120 participants. This year’s fun walk is on Saturday, 14 October. Please save the date – we’d love for you to join us. For more information, contact 012 452 3811 or marlene@sancb.org.za. Download the Application Forms, here: http://www.tinyurl.com/ydd2lae6

 

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Eye surgery gives a new lease on life

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The SANCB’s Bureau for the Prevention of Blindness performed 2 075 cataract operations, screened over 6000 people and dispensed more than 1 700 spectacles in the last financial year. The restoration of sight has a massive ripple-effect on patients, improving their self-esteem, sense of well-being and relationships. Two such patients are Dorothy Mlambo (55) from Kliptown and William Steenkamp (43) from Kenhardt. They were dismayed when cataracts left them with vision loss and compromised their ability to do their jobs. But thanks to cataract surgery, their vision has dramatically improved and they’re looking forward to returning to work and supporting their families. Diabetic Mavis Montshiwa (69) had bilateral cataract surgery at Joe Morolong Hospital in Vryburg and she’s thrilled with the results. “I can’t wait to cook for my grandchildren again. Thank you all.”

Thank you to all our donors, as well as sponsorships from Vodacom and LifeHealth, for making these life-changing cataract tours possible.

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