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BLIND SA NATIONAL YOUTH PARLIAMENT:  23-24 SEPTEMBER 2023 ‘BREAKING BARRIERS TO AMPLIFY THE VOICES OF VISUALLY IMPAIRED YOUTH’

This slogan will be used on the 23rd and 24th of September when 14 schools for the blind in South Africa will robustly discuss issues affecting their social and academic well-being. The first of its kind, Blind SA conducted engagement sessions in seven provinces where several schools have participated in provincial youth dialogues.  Now the time has come for learners at FET Phase from all provinces to come together and come up with possible solutions and recommendations for implementation. In 2021, the executive committee of Blind SA deemed it necessary to engage with blind and partially sighted youth regarding barriers that hinder their voices from being heard and strive towards self-representation and self-advocate for their rights.  Blind SA embarked on interactions with the different schools for the blind, and this sparked the establishment of the Blind SA Youth Parliament. The success of these provincial dialogues encouraged Blind SA to pursue an engagement at the national level.

While this is an opportunity for learners to get to know fellow participants from other provinces, the aim of the National Youth Parliament is to come up with possible solutions for the issues impacting blind and partially sighted youth both at school and out-of-school levels.

Blind SA identified four overarching topics, under which the Parliament will debate. These are:
  • Economic opportunities for young people
  • The impact of COVID-19 on the sexual and reproductive healthcare system
  • Mental and Physical Health
  • Schooling and transitioning into adulthood
In addition, various stakeholders were approached to support this initiative through information sharing and/or funding.  The intention is for this parliament to be an annual event for youth with visual impairments to engage, learn, and get empowered to have their voices heard. Furthermore, Blind SA seeks to promote leadership, self-representation, and activism amongst visually impaired youth who are the future of the country.
For more inquiries on this event, you may contact Thandile Butana via e-mail at cpl@blindsa.org.za or via call or WhatsApp at 068 229 0259.

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