BREADLINE AFRICA OPENS MEDIA BRAILLE CENTRE FOR THE
ATHLONE SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND, 16 MAY 2014
Bellville, Western Cape
Donated by MRS MARY RYAN, IRELAND - SPECIAL NEEDS SCHOOL
The Athlone School for the Blind is a public school situated in Bellville-South, Cape Town, South Africa. On 7 May 1927 the Earl of Athlone, then Governor-General of the Cape, (after which the school is named) officially opened the school in the suburb of Athlone. Seven blind pupils were registered and admitted on the first day of school. The school was established to provide education and residential care for blind and visually impaired children from disadvantaged communities and has a proud history spanning 87 years. Currently the school has 405 learners and 45 educators.
The new media centre consisted of two 12-metre containers joined side by side, creating a large space 12 metres long by 4.8 metres wide. The inside was sealed, insulated and doors and windows cut into the containers to create a light airy space. The work was completed some time ago but the school waited for the right opportunity to open the new facility. This was on Friday 16th May.
Mr Fletcher Fisher, school Principal (below) welcomed all the guests in attendance as well as the Board Members of the school. There were various representatives in attendance from the City of Cape Town, the Department of Public Libraries, members of the Education department of the Western Cape government as well as members from the local church.
The Deputy Principal, Mr Theodore Klink shared with the audience what words can create in a normal society, for eg. a picture can paint a thousand words. But for the visually impaired learners this can be difficult if they have never seen anything. The container will serve as a much needed multimedia room with all audio visual aids for partially sighted and blind learners.
The learners (above and below) use the Perkins Brailler and the more modern Apex Notereader to assist them with their work.
Their primary goal is to meet the educational, vocational and therapeutic needs for the learners so as to ensure that they have the appropriate skills, education and competencies to effectively participate in the broader social and economic world. The visually impaired learner’s access to a school, a shop or a library or to read a book is very different to those in a normal school.
Athlone School for the Blind thanked Breadline Africa for the gesture of the container as it will bring significant change in the lives of the visually impaired learners. The donation was made by Mrs Mary Ryan from Ireland, who asked that the funds be spent on the special needs of children.
Written by Edna Titus