Quarterly Newsletter No 3 – 2021
Welcome to the first quarterly newsletter of Gateway to Elation! As October is here, it is time to share the news that happened in the third quarter of 2021.
Gateway to Elation is an initiative of opening a gateway to the world for the blind. This is done by providing training in computer literacy and daily living skills, which include mobility and orientation, as well as social interaction. Gateway to Elation is located in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe and it conducts its training programmes nationally and online.
Since inception, a total of 70 blind Zimbabweans have been empowered to take their lives in their own hands. These are the newly blind and those who were born blind and/or the ones who are in-between. Though the focus is on children and youth, adults are also considered.
In this edition of article of the quarter, we have a piece on rights for blind people. It is written by Delisa Dube, one of the board members of Gateway to Elation. She talks about rights and responsibilities of a blind person based on personal choices and/or interactions. Please find out more here.
RESUMPTION OF TRAINING SESSIONS
Gateway to Elation conducted its first face-to-face training sessions in July of 2021! Following the lockdowns as a result of COVID-19, I suspended physical training sessions. Venues for training were closed whilst unnecessary travelling was prohibited.
Following the vaccination drive in Zimbabwe, COVID-19 cases were reduced. This resulted in easing of lockdown restrictions – especially for the vaccinated. This made it possible for me to resume training sessions in July of 2021. It was a moment of re-awakening for me as I met new blind participants who had been eager to learn computer skills.
It is always interesting for me to meet new blind people who all have inspiring backgrounds. Losing sight comes with a lot of challenges. Through Gateway to Elation, we are trying to provide tools and skills that help them to get back on their feet.
In July 2021, I had a total of 3 new participants who I introduced to computer literacy. I continued with them through August. Other participants who heard the news, had wanted to come for refresher and upgrade courses – especially those who learnt online. In September, intercity travel resumed. I attempted to take these training sessions out of Bulawayo for new participants in Mbalabala, located 50km southwest of Bulawayo. The course is still ongoing.
FEATURE ELATION STORY: from metal fabricator to chicken farmer
Please meet Themba Samora Moyo, a blind chicken farmer.
Themba joined Gateway to Elation on the onset of the second pilot programme in June of 2016.
“When my sight deteriorated due to glaucoma around 2004, I left my job to look for greener pastures. I am a former employee of the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) where I was a boilermaker. I went to South Africa where I bought equipment for metal fabrication. I lost
hope when I became totally blind. All my machines and all that I had worked for was now lying idle. I thank Gateway to Elation for making me realise that there’s more to life than sight. I can now communicate with people using my phone, use WhatsApp, read books, and research about chicken farming using these skills. Also, I can now walk alone anyway using my white cane.”
Currently, Themba is one of the well-known chicken suppliers in Phumula South and Bulawayo as a whole. He utilises his backyard space for breeding those broilers. His company, Arota’s Chicken is proving that blind empowerment is indeed a reality!
GATEWAY TO ELATION IN THE MEDIA
I was interviewed by Yampier Aguiar Durañona of the Giraffe Heroes foundation Stick Your Neck out podcasts. Please find the interview here.
An article about Gateway to Elation was profiled by Enos Denhere. Please find the article
On behalf of Gateway to Elation participants, I wish to thank all donors who believe in this
project. I have witnessed lives being changed for the better in mere weeks after participants
joined Gateway to Elation training. I also wish to appreciate the vital role being played by
Gateway to Elation board members and volunteers. They ensure the organisation is running
smoothly by devoting their valued time and energy.
The work we do depends on donations and in case you are in a position to support, you can
do this via our website here.
Please do share this newsletter with family, friends, colleagues, and anyone else who is
interested. Please stay safe and thank you for reading!
Founder – Director: Gateway to Elation