Centre for visually impaired in Kavango reopens

SAUYEMWA: Classes for visually impaired students at the only centre for visually impaired persons in the two Kavango regions which were suspended the whole of last year due to lack of students will now kick of this year.

The centre for the visually impaired here 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, especially how to read and write using Braille.

Centre Manager Immanuel Kangenengene, who is visually impaired himself, confirmed to Nampa on Tuesday saying that classes for the 2014 academic year will commence in April.

Kangenengene explained that the center has enrolled 16 students who will be accommodated at the center, as some of them reside in far remote areas.

“We will now start classes in April and the students will only go home to visit their relatives during holidays,” the centrer manager said.

Since the centre’s last group of students successfully completed their courses in 2012, the school has not enrolled any new students last year.

It is widely believed that people with visual impairment never wanted to enrol at the centre because they live in remote areas, while some were discouraged by the constant lack of transportation to and from school over weekends and during holidays.

Others are skeptical about the availability of accommodation and enough food to sustain them at the centre, and rather stay at home.

Kangenengene explained that the new students will have to pay for their own transportation costs because the center does not have its own transport nor funds to cater their transport.

This is worrisome to the center manager as some students might not turn up due to lack of transport.

Although the classes are set to reopens, the center manager indicated that students will be forking out from their own pockets to buy food and other necessities while at the center.

With all these hiccups, he encouraged the new students not despair but sacrifices for their own sake so as to avoid from being left behind in terms of education.

Currently, nine people with visual impairment, including three teachers, reside at the centre to look after the facility.

Teachers at the center have been sitting idle since the start of 2013 with no work to do, and although they are on the government’s payroll, they have not been paid so far since last year because they didn’t do any work.

The Sauyemwa visually impaired centre accommodates up to 19 students.

Accommodation is provided free of charge in the centre’s six corrugated iron- room structures, while mattresses, donated by Good Samaritans, are also available for students’ use.

Kangenengene reiterated his appeal to the central government to avail transport for would-be students who live in remote areas to access the centre.

Those residing at the centre survive from grants provided by the 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.

These stages include lessons on how to read and write the 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 attached a volunteer at the centre, who assists students with their daily tasks such as cooking meals, washing clothes and cleaning the centre. This assistance will be 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.

Edited SAUYEMWA: 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.