Christian Blind Mission (CBM) and Plan International have trained 253 community educators in sign language skills and the effective use of braille resource.

It is understood that CBM and Plan International are also helping girls aged ten to 19, including those with disabilities, to access an education as part of the Supporting Adolescent Girls’ Education (SAGE) programme.

The leading causes of vision impairment and blindness are uncorrected refractive errors and cataracts, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Studies show that the majority of people with vision impairment and blindness are over the age of 50 years. However vision loss can affect people of all ages.

According to the International Journal of Academic Research in Progressive Education and Development, lack of adequately trained personnel and material resources have featured as problems to be resolved for children with vision impairment.

Data from the Canadian Research and Development Centre of Sciences and Cultures shows that shortage of Perkins Braille machines, styluses, braille text books, slates, notetakers and talking calculators was one of the major problems faced by students with disabilities in Zimbabwe.

CBM said in a recent report that an estimated one in five secondary school-age girls in Zimbabwe are not at school and girls with disabilities are among those most likely to miss out.

Similarly, figures from the 2013 Living Conditions among Persons with Disability Survey (LCPDS) in the country showed that more than 75 percent of children of school-going age with disabilities were out of school in 2012.

The CBM-Plan International partnership has distributed braille teaching and learning materials, including braille paper, alphabet trainer plates and 50 pairs of glasses for girls with low vision to the learning hubs set up as part of the aforementioned SAGE programme.

‘After participating in the training, the community educators expressed their confidence in teaching learners with all types of disabilities’, a CBM statement read.

‘The training also included the effective identification of girls with learning and intellectual disabilities and how to support them in learning situations’.

Development Diaries understands that the government of Zimbabwe, in its response to the needs of children with vison impairment, designed a rollout plan for inclusive education trainings for all teachers in Zimbabwe.

However, the programme has been delayed by the Covid-19-induced lockdowns and subsequent school closures.

Source: Christian Blind Mission

Photo source: CBM/Diemer


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