“Disability Info South Africa” would like to thank “Blind SA” for renewing their advertising and therefore supporting the free information service and website that we provide to assist persons with disabilities.
Blind SA originally started on the 26th October 1946 as the South African Blind Worker’s Organisation to help the blind find meaningful careers. In 2004 it became Blind SA. Blind SA is governed by its members who elect the Head Committee. We insist on self-representation and work and speak from the viewpoint of blind people. We stand for equality, advocating the rights of the blind throughout South Africa. Based in Johannesburg, we serve the blind community at large, we equip blind people with the skills they need to fully and independently participate in society. This includes support in living without assistance, getting about, using technology, reading, working and socialising. All this is made possible through advocacy, our Education Committee, Braille Services, Equipment, Mali-Bhala, Orientation & Mobility Practitioners and our employment programme. It is through this, and the support of our donors, that we connect South African’s who are blind or visually impaired with the world they live in.
“Our Purpose is to end the cycle of poverty for Blind South Africans, empowering them with knowledge and information through education, braille and developmental services and to break down barriers, provide opportunities and create answers that improve the quality of life for the blind community so that they can live the life they choose.”
Our Services Include:
Education: One of our primary goals is to promote quality education for all learners with visual impairments in South Africa. Our Education Committee addresses all issues concerning education from pre-school intervention to general, further and tertiary education and training, as well as adult basic education and training.
Facilities and Support: It is crucial that specialised schools and resource centres are developed and strengthened to accommodate the blind and visually impaired. Our committee will also support learners who can cope in mainstream schools, provided that adequate assistance is provided by education authorities and that the parents of the learners have made informed decisions. The Education Committee will continue to oversee the education and training of learners, as it is their constitutional right. We also offer Interest-free loans to assist with living costs and study materials.Where appropriate, financial assistance is extended to parents or guardians of children who are at school. This is done through Blind SA’s Learners’ Fund.
Employment: Getting a job is the starting point of self-sufficiency and dignity for most people, with no exception to the blind. In 1946, Blind SA (formerly SABWO) was formed to help blind and visually impaired South Africans. People who are blind or visually impaired can be found working in most industries. With the right skills, training and technology there are few jobs the blind and visually impaired cannot do. Our assistance can successfully help integrate blind people into their new roles and into businesses.
Orientation and Mobility: We provide independent training to blind and partially sighted persons so that they may live independently without depending on other people to take them around or perform skills of daily living on their behalf. We aim to change the attitudes of the sighted people towards people who have visual disability and educate them on how to assist a blind person and also to respect the cane. Through “Orientation and Mobility” we also train clients to enhance the learner’s personal mobility skills, and to develop insight into the challenges facing persons who are blind and partially sighted.
Braille Services: Blind SA established Braille Services in 1953 and is the only producer of braille in all eleven official languages of South Africa. Access to the written word is the greatest communication barrier blind folk face. Despite advancements in audio technology, reading and writing can only be attained through braille, making it key to literacy. We produce braille to order only, and try to meet the reading needs of all our customers. Each page of every textbook needs to be transcribed into a braille master page, then duplicated and bound into useful study aids. Our Heidelberg GT Platen Press allows for quick production and our Viewplus Braille and state-of-the-art software means we can print tactile diagrams and pictures.
Equipment: Blind SA stock and sell a variety of Assistive Devices to assist persons who are Blind, this includes the:
· Mali-Bhala: is a money counter and signature guide
- The Tatrapoint Mechanical Brailler: is a more cost effective affordable braille writing machine manufactured in Slovakia. Blind SA imported two orders of 30 and 45 units to sell.
- Braille-Me: is an electronic braille note-taker and display produced in India. Blind SA entered into an exclusive distributor agreement after having tested the device.