Centre for visually impaired in Kavango reopens

18 Feb 2014 14:00pm
SAUYEMWA, 18 FEB (NAMPA) – Classes at the only centre for visually impaired persons in the two Kavango regions will commence this year after being suspended the whole of last year due to a lack of students.
The centre is known as the Sauyemwa Visually Impaired Centre, and is situated on the western outskirts of Rundu.
It was established in 2008 to afford people living with visual impairment an opportunity to access education.
Centre Manager Immanuel Kangenengene, who is visually impaired himself, confirmed on Tuesday that classes for the 2014 academic year will commence in April.
Kangenengene explained that the centre has enrolled 16 students, some of them will be accommodated at the centre because some of them are from remote areas.
“We will now start classes in April and the students will only go home to visit their relatives during the holidays,” he said.
The school did not enrol any new students last year, after the centre’s last group of students successfully completed their courses in 2012.
It is though that the people with visual impairment do not enrol at the centre because they live in remote areas, with some being discouraged by the constant lack of transportation to and from school over weekends and during holidays.
Others are sceptical about the availability of accommodation and enough food to sustain them at the centre, and therefore rather stay at home where they do not have such concerns.
Kangenengene explained that the new students will have to pay their own transport costs because the centre does not have its own transport, nor does it have funds to cater for transport.
The centre manager indicated that students will pay for their own food and other necessities while at the centre.
He however said students should not despair, and should consider making the sacrifice so that they are not left behind in terms of education.
Nine visually impaired people, including three teachers, currently reside at the centre, partly to look after it.
The Sauyemwa visually impaired centre accommodates up to 19 students.
Accommodation is provided free of charge in six corrugated structures, while mattresses donated by Good Samaritans are also available for use by the students.
Kangenengene appealed to central government to avail transport for prospective students who live in remote areas.
Those currently residing at the centre survive on grants provided by Government, as well as food donations by local businesspeople and shopping outlets.
Since the school’s establishment in 2008, the centre has produced over 20 graduates who successfully completed stages one and two of the course presented there.
This includes lessons on how to read and write local languages in Braille, as well as mathematics.
Most graduates are furthering their studies at other centres for visually impaired persons in Windhoek.
To help ease the burden of household chores, the Namibian Red Cross Society (NRCS) since last year availed a volunteer for the centre, who assists students with their daily tasks such as cooking meals, washing clothes and cleaning the centre. This assistance will be provided for a period of two years.
The Sauyemwa Visually Impaired Centre has a hall, but lessons take place under a tree.
The hall was built with assistance from Johan Krail, a businessperson at Rundu.