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Visually impaired call for inclusive education

Visually impaired people in Bulawayo have called for inclusive education and a secondary school that will specifically cater for their special needs.

This came out during the belated braille day commemorations hosted by the Bulawayo Public Library in conjunction with the Gateway to Elation.

Braille day is commemorated on the 4th of January to honour the birth of braille’s inventor, Louis Braille.

Speaking during the commemorations, Themba Moyo from Gateway to Elation said there is a need for a secondary school in Bulawayo that caters for the needs of visually impaired people.

“We have a challenge with secondary schools, we don’t have a secondary school in Bulawayo, we only have two primary schools but we expect people to excel up to university,” said Moyo.

He said that the community is also experiencing a challenge with a shortage of reading material as “they are very few and expensive” and learners “find it so difficult to attend lessons.”

 “We are also urging the wider community to be so supportive especially when it comes to mobility and some skills that we desire to have. We want the government to assist in terms of reading materials, walking devices this is why we are commemorating this day so that people can be easily accessible and we can also move,” he said.

The founder Director of Gateway to elation, Robert Malunda said visually impaired people also don’t have proper textbooks for the new curriculum.

“Our encouragement is going to the government where we are saying let’s embrace braille so that blind people can have access to information in the form of braille because braille is the number one form of literacy,” he said.

“As organizations, we try to source some of the braille materials but when they get here they require import duty, hence things would be donated for free, so we won’t be able to pay customs duty.”

The World Blind Union inclusion and human rights officer, Nqobani Dube said the outstanding challenges remain the failure to access critical information, accessing essential services such as education and health due to lack of access to relevant information. 

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