QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER NO 1 – 2022

Happy new year and welcome to the first quarterly newsletter of Gateway to Elation in 2022! Being April now, it is time to share the news that happened in the first quarter of 2022.

Introduction

The best way to ameliorate discrimination is to empower the marginalised – by Jordan B Peterson.

Gateway to Elation is empowering blind people by opening a gateway to the world for them. This is done  by providing training in computer literacy and daily living skills; which include mobility and orientation, as well as social interaction.

It has been proven that if blind people are empowered with life skills, they can go on to make a difference in their lives and in the lives of others in their community. Please find out more from the feature elation story section. 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 the article of the quarter, we have a piece on International Women’s Day by Delisa Dube. Please find out more here.

Braille Day

On 12th January 2022, Gateway to Elation, in partnership with the Braille Section of the Bulawayo Public Library, joined the rest of the world in commemorating Braille day. It was an event where we spoke about the role of the Braille writing system to us as blind people. Braille Day is celebrated every 4th January. It is Louis Braille’s birthday, the inventor of the 6 dot writing system for the blind.

One of the most important factors which came about was the need for a local secondary school which can accommodate blind secondary school learners here in Bulawayo. Most secondary schools which can accommodate blind learners are out of Bulawayo and they are expensive. At least a reputable government school could cover this gap. Please find the full article here.

Continuation of Training Sessions

IN the first quarter of 2022, Gateway to Elation continued with face-to-face training sessions. They were conducted here in Bulawayo and Gweru. Of note is Arnold Ndebele, who happens to be our youngest participant so far. He is now enrolled at Mtshabezi High School. I shall share his full story in future newsletters.

Though venues for training sessions are scarce, I continue to persevere with the few which are available to me. A long term solution would be to purchase premises for Gateway to Elation.

Feature Elation Story: Hope found in teaching

Meet Mandlenkosi Ncube, a 41-year-old blind teacher from Bulawayo.

Mandla lost his sight in 2006. He was employed then but he lost his job because it was felt he was unable to perform his duties due to his sight. After he attended Gateway to Elation’s programmes, he became a teacher. He works at Msasane Primary School, in Plumtree.

“I had to stay at home. I did a certificate in Counselling in 2010 whilst I was stationed at home.

“In 2016, I did Honours in Special needs  education and I am currently studying for a Masters in Inclusive education.”

Mandla enrolled at Gateway to Elation in 2016 as he was at the Reformed Church University (RCU), located in Masvingo, where he did his first degree.

“At Gateway to Elation, I learned computer literacy, which helped me in doing my assignments/school work,research, among other tasks. I also acquired orientation and mobility skills where I also received a white cane which supports my mobility.

“Now I can walk alone in Bulawayo or anywhere with confidence, with little or no assistance.

“I also learnt social interaction and I am now socialising through the internet, WhatsApp and many other online platforms.

Gateway to Elation has changed my life for the better. After this programme I am currently doing, I want to do something big in line with education. I want to inspire sighted people and help them learn that even if one loses their sight, they can still do something to reach their highest levels of education or achieve their highest goals.”

Gateway to Elation in the media

Gateway to Elation was interviewed regarding Braille day by the Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE), Choice Magazine and other news outlets. I also commented on issues to do with voting rights for blind Zimbabweans. Please find the articles below.

https://cite.org.zw/visually-impaired-call-for-inclusive-education/

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