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Sinamakhono inclusive education programme seeks to teach braille

The goal is to encourage the sighted people to learn braille.

The Sinamakhono inclusive education programme aims to create facilitators of braille in the Thembisa community.
The programme has managed to grab the attention of the youth interested in learning more about braille.

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According to student Lindeni Mkhize, the Sinanamakhono inclusive education programme offers braille lessons to the visually impaired and sighted people in the community, as well as lessons on a cellphone with speech outputs and blind chess.

Sinamakhono inclusive education programme facilitators are teaching braille on a typewriter.

Mkhize shared with the Thembisan, her motivation for joining the programme.
“I joined because I had an interest in learning braille as a sighted person. I realised that visually impaired children in our community are usually separated from their parents and the community and are sent to boarding schools.

“We also know there are not many boarding schools that cater for visually impaired children. I wanted to be an agent of change to also include the visually impaired people in our community by being someone who can also share that world with them,” said Mkhize.

Founder of the Sinamakhono inclusive education programme, Vangile Mkhonza, noted her history with visual impairment and the impact losing sight had on her.
She said the programme was founded after she had lost her sight in February 2010.

Students of Sinamakhono inclusive education programme are learning to play chess for the visually impaired.

“I was in the process of learning braille myself. I was awarded the opportunity to teach braille by the Department of Education because there was a shortage of visually impaired skills in Thembisa Adult Education Centres.

“I went on to start teaching others at the Thembisa Adult Education Centre but after three years, I had to be hospitalised and had an operation on my right eye,” said Mkhonza.
“I then had to do something else, and I started to work on making music. It was after I created my first album with my business partner Nonsikelelo Mfengu, who is also visually impaired, that we created the Sinamakhono musical empowerment project, which also includes the Sinamakhona inclusive education programme,” said Mkonza.

The programme seeks to promote the inclusion of the visually impaired and sighted people of the Thembisa community.
“Through this programme, we hope the government will push to allow inclusive education where both disabled and abled learners go to the same school,” said Mkonza.
The educational programme is operating at the Thembisa Self-help Association of the Disabled and it welcomes everyone interested in learning braille.

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