"Providing tools for living and learning for blind young people in Africa"
The advantages which the use of equipment provided by Blindaid Africa offers to blind students have proved to be invaluable. It is clear that they should continue to be available.
There are three areas of concern which must be addressed to ensure that this remains possible:
1.Ownership. In the past, audio equipment and typewriters were offered by Blindaid Africa to each student as a personal gift. This is very desirable, but impractical for large numbers. With increasing numbers of schools asking for help, and school leavers taking their prized possessions with them, it has become impossible to meet demands in this way. Material is now sent to remain the property of the school. Students who are proceeding to course of further study in another institution will be provided for at these institutions, or can apply to Blindaid Africa for special consideration.
2.Corruption. Some of those placed in charge of blind students have been known to confiscate tape recorders and sell them for their own profit. It has also become apparent that there are always dishonest people who are prepared to make false claims. We are aware, for instance, of two blind students, who work together with an educated sighted person and try to order enough equipment to supply a whole school where we have been reliably informed that there are, in fact, no blind students. Once received the material would disappear. It is not always possible to prevent this from happening but Blindaid Africa now has sufficient friends amongst former students That fraudulent claims can be detected before any major loss occurs.
The Malawi Union for the Blind is cooperating with Blindaid Africa in two ways. A library of recorded and Braille books has been established at the M.U.B. headquarters in Limbe. In addition to this several of the members who are now working as teachers after having been supported by Blindaid Africa during their secondary and tertiary education, have now undertaken to supervise the supply and use of any equipment sent by Blindaid Africa to blind students in the schools in their area.
The University of Zimbabwe, which had been advising Blindaid about resource management, closed towards the end of 2008. Communication with any institution in that country has now become very difficult.