September 2019

25 visually-impaired adults from Makhanda (Grahamstown) were given the opportunity to improve their quality of life through a braille literacy programme sponsored by Sun International.

For five weeks, between July and August 2019, learners met at the Grahamstown Day Clinic within the FAMSA centre to complete HANDS ON Volume 1 to 6, a braille-based learning programme which assists visually-impaired adults to learn skills to assist them to live a richer and more independent life.

This initiative came about because Port Elizabeth-based MWIT-Cape and Boardwalk saw the need to train and develop people in the Eastern Cape who are physically challenged in order to help them reach their potential. 

The training was conducted by the Eastern Cape branch of South Africa’s leading Adult Education and Training specialists Media Works, who utilised different tools like braille boards and braille machines to assist the learners with their coursework.

“To succeed in school, work and life, blind people need the opportunities that literacy provides. According to SA Braille Authority, braille (which is a script, not a language) is the primary means to literacy for blind and deafblind persons. To promote braille reading and writing is a way to enhance every aspect of a blind person’s life,” said Marina Bester, who is involved in implementation at Media Works Eastern Cape. 

Employment for disabled people remains one of the major employment equity challenges that South Africa needs to tackle. By upskilling people with disabilities, we can help individuals, communities and also assist with growing our economy.    

“This project will have a positive impact on learners, as they will be able to read braille more proficiently, which gives them an outlet that they didn’t have before…a chance to read, learn and grow. Some of the learners will also now be employable in local industries that seek to hire people with an understanding of braille,” Bester continued.  

The learners who participated in the programme were chosen by GRASHARD, an NPO in Makhanda which is run by people with disabilities in collaboration with MWIT-Cape. 

Sun International is proud to be involved in this life-changing initiative. To empower and develop people with disabilities is a way to help them live fuller lives and give them hope in a brighter future.