Future financial outlook bleak for visually-impaired

15 Dec 2014 11:00am
KEETMANSHOOP, 15 DEC (NAMPA) – The Namibian Federation of the Visually-Impaired (NFVI) is worried about its future financial outlook.
The federation held its Annual Meeting of Delegates (AMD) at Keetmanshoop in the //Karas Region at the weekend, attracting the attendance of 55 delegates from five regional affiliate organisations.
The youth representative on the NFVI executive board, Tiofelus Jeremia told Nampa on the sidelines of the conference on Saturday that the federation has been receiving the bulk of its funding from the Finnish Federation of the Visually-Impaired, but that long-running relationship is coming to an end after 2015.
The NFVI gets only three per cent of its annual budget from the Namibian government.
“Once that [Finnish] funding stream ends, our financial status as it stands now will be in the dark,” Jeremia lamented.
The federation distributes most of the funds it receives from donors to the different organisations representing visually-impaired people in the country.
“With these funds, we manage our small offices, and execute all our activities and programmes,” Jeremia said.
Some of the federation’s activities include lobbying the government and stakeholders on the rights of the blind; rehabilitation for its members; working with families and caretakers on how to assist their blind relatives; the promotion of Braille reading; as well as hygiene and mobility training.
Further to talks around finances from the different regions, delegates at the AMD revised the federation’s current activity plan, and discussed activities for 2015.
They also voiced social difficulties which members face daily, such as poverty, prejudice, inadequate education, limited job opportunities and isolation.
In a speech read on his behalf by //Karas Regional Governor Bernadus Swartbooi at the AMD on Friday, the Minister of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) Richard Kamwi said the government will continue to take the plight of people with disabilities seriously.
“They are facing many barriers such as ignorance, fear and stereotypes.
These barriers have excluded people with disabilities from participating fully in our socio-economic sphere; in gaining employment and taking on other important activities within Namibian society,” Kamwi noted.
He praised the NFVI for being a strong group with quality leadership and proper governance structures.
The aim of the NFVI is to improve the social status of persons with visual disabilities, and to facilitate their full participation in all areas of society on equal terms with people without visual disabilities.