Government urged to allocate more funds towards education for the visually impaired.

Government urged to allocate more funds towards education for the visually impaired.

By Letwin Mubonesi

Yesterday, the country joined the rest of the world in celebrating World Braille Day under the theme, ‘Even under Normal Circumstances, Persons with Disabilities are less likely to access Health care, Education, Employment, and to Participate in the Community.’

The day aims to recognise the right of access to braille by blind people and raise awareness of the importance of braille as a means of communication in the full realization of the human rights for blind and partially sighted people.

However, the visually impaired people in the country have appealed to the government to capacitate school children with eyesight challenges with learning gadgets, including Braille material so that they can also learn during COVID-19 lockdown periods.

Specialist for the visually impaired Mapula Ndlovu said that the government should increase the education budget allocated to the visually impaired in order to improve the availability of resources for the visually impaired students at schools.

He said most pupils that have eyesight problems at schools are left during online lessons because they cannot use ordinary gadgets, while most of them also come from poor backgrounds and they cannot afford the gadgets.

“Currently the government is not allowing face to face lessons, in which most lessons are carried out online .Most of these kids do not have gadgets, and Braille literature for learning as most of them come from very poor families. This affects them as they will still be required to write exams,” Ndlovu said.

Senator representing people with disabilities, Watson Khupe who is also chairperson of the National Disability Board said learning resources are only allocated to a small section of Zimbabweans and urged the government to be inclusive and improve the lives of the visually impaired through supporting them with Braille reading material.

Khupe said, “Everything to do with disabilities, whether about Braille or other resources, is for a few people. In remote areas, pupils find it hard to access lessons as they do not have resources, which proves that infrastructure is in short supply”

He also urged Zimbabwean companies to employ people with disabilities, adding that the stipends that they are supposed to receive for self-help projects were also not reaching them.

“No one wants to beg, everyone has a family to feed. We have government grants, but as it is, they are not reaching many PWDs. The programme now seems to be elitist.”

The day is marked remembering the birth anniversary of Louis Braille who is the inventor of braille.