Gateway to Elation

Advocating for integration of Blind Children in Africa’s Development

On 16 June 1976, thousands of students in Soweto, South Africa, marched in protest against the poor quality education they were receiving and demanded to be taught in their local languages. This resulted in the apartheid government opening live fire on unarmed peaceful vernal protestors. That is how the Day of the African Child came about. 16 June of every year is celebrated as Day of the African Child (DAC). The theme for DAC 2018 is “LEAVE NO CHILD BEHIND FOR AFRICA’S DEVELOPMENT”. Gateway to Elation joins the rest of Africa in celebrating and being in solidarity with African youths and children.

Working in the field of disability – with a particular focus on blind youths – it has come to our knowledge that aspirations of blind youths die a still birth. This is as a result of lack of access to information for their academic and personal needs. Information has proven beyond doubt that it is indeed power. In that regard, if blind learners and/or youths don’t get adequate access to information independently, it’s tantamount to vulnerability to issues like abuse, low self-esteem and lack of awareness, among others, hence, resulting in widespread discrimination.

Image showing a map of Africa juxtaposed with canes.Blind Youth should never be left behind in Africa’s story

Since its formation in January of 2016, Gateway to Elation has been providing the much needed computer literacy skills to the blind with a bias towards youths. Of the 50 plus beneficiaries, we have vigorously attempted to reach out to those below 35. In addition, our bidding is to partner with schools which accommodate blind pupils. This is so because they are disadvantaged by being excluded from computer lessons. Even if given the opportunity to be in computer labs, most schools which accommodate blind pupils do not have the needed skills and softwares to train the blind pupils.

In line with the 2018 DAC theme, Gateway to Elation envisages a society where all children are accorded an equal opportunity; being full participants in our communities. We aspire to see blind children and youths being part and parcel of Africa’s development. Integration can be achieved by equipping blind children with computer literacy skills. However, it should be noted that Braille still plays an integral part in literacy for the blind. It must be upheld and promoted at all costs.

Happy DAC 2018 to all blind children!

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