"Providing tools for living and learning for blind young people in Africa"
The first school in Malawi which Blindaid Africa contacted was the Malingunde Primary School. It is an integrated school which had, in 1996, twenty blind students and no special equipment to meet their needs. A radio-cassette recorder, tapes and a typewriter were sent to each blind student. In his letter of thanks the headmaster, Mr. Ophen Banda, regretted that the recorders could not be used because there was no electricity supplied to the school. They were advised to buy two car batteries, and a system of connecting cables was supplied. The students used their recorders by day, and the batteries were put on charge at a nearby hospital each night.
Meantime, back in England, a solar panel based system was devised, which the blind students and their teachers could operate and maintain without relying on outside help. The solar panel, the control and distribution equipment and the wiring were all supplied at below cost by Beco Batteries Ltd. in Devon. The battery was supplied free of charge by Lincoln Batteries in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex who also arranged transport of all this equipment to Matawi through Gripp Ltd. again, free of charge. The shipment was expedited through customs in Malawi by the United Nations Development Programme resident representative. The delivery and installation was supervised by the Lions Club of Capital City (Lilongwe). Blindaid Africa is very grateful to all of these people for their generosity and assistance in a project which has benefited blind students for several years now, and will continue to do so for many more to come.
Early in 2007, negotiations began to provide electricity to the Ngabu school. Our resource manager, Latim Matenje, arranged for this work to be supervised by the Malawi Union for the Blind . The work which was completed during the summer holidays was paid for bt Blindaid Africa. We are now preparing to send them a supply of cassette players as well as recorded and blank tapes.
A watch is an essential piece of equipment for a schoolteacher. This year we have sent 28 talking watches to blind Malawian teachers, many of them distributed by the Malawi union for the Blind.