KZN BLIND AND DEAF SOCIETY
KwaZulu-Natal Blind and Deaf Society provides a range of services to blind, partially-sighted, deaf, hard-of-hearing, and deaf-blind people in Durban and its surroundings, Chatsworth, Pinetown, Umlazi, Amanzimtoti and Durban South, Inanda, KwaMashu, Ntezuma, Phoenix, Verulam, Tongaat, Kwa Dekuza, Pietermaritzburg and Zululand. The Society’s work is substantially improving the lives of our clients, contributing to their development and independence.
Social workers provide counselling to beneficiaries and their families to cope
with disability and related issues.
Working with Deafblind as well as Deaf and Blind people with other disabilities is as complex and sensitive as it is vital. We provide stimulation programmes for children with these disabilities as well as a parent support programme. We also facilitate their placement in special educational institutions.
The Society’s Independence Skills Programme highlights the fact that losing sight does not automatically mean losing independence or access to social or economic activities. An important aspect of the work for Blind and Partially-Sighted people is to ensure that they have a complete understanding of space and can manage it through mobility and orientation training. Independence skills training (which includes Skills of Daily Living, Orientation and Mobility and Community Based Rehabilitation) together with appropriate support, encouragement, and resources, enables visually impaired persons to develop their full potential with an enriched life.
Parents are counselled to ensure that they send their children with Deafness and Blindness related disabilities to schools to be educated. We then render social work services to children at schools who are about to leave school concerning career prospects. When they leave school we provide services in ensuring their further education, receive tertiary education, skills training, and ultimately job placement. An important aspect of the work as far as Blind and Partially-Sighted people are concerned, is to ensure that they have a complete understanding of space and can manage it through mobility and orientation training. As far as our Deaf and hard of hearing clients are concerned, we need to ensure that they are familiar with Sign Language and that Sign Language interpreter support is available to them wherever they go, but particularly in the work place.
Job placement is done by linking beneficiaries with suitable positions after training persons
on work readiness.
Our clients like others in society must take part in sport. The Society has employed 1 sport co-ordinator to do this work one each to help people with Blind related and Deaf related disabilities respectively. We mention Blind Cricket and Goal ball for blind people, as well as soccer, netball and volleyball for people who are Deaf.
Optometry assessments are done at minimal fee at the clinic, after which referrals are made to relevant hospitals for further treatments.
Advocacy is done to ensure that the rights of persons with disabilities are upheld.
The Society has in place a well-recognized and established early indication program for ECD centers, funded by First rand. This has been successful in addressing the challenges faced by children with disabilities in accessing education. Engagement with the network of mainstream ECD’s that the Society has already established relationships with, to implement parent networks for the establishment of support structures and awareness, would further enhance the delivery of services, in particular the referral system to audiology, optometry, sign language, independence training and social work services.
Rehabilitation, orientation and mobility training for visually impaired persons to learn skills
to use the white cane for mobility, other assistive devices for independence with daily living.
Support Groups are held for beneficiaries and parents of child with disabilities to promote
socialisation and sharing of common issues.
Audiology screening is done for children focusing on early detection of hearing loss.
KZN BLIND AND DEAF SOCIETY
Academy of Learning
We run an Academy of Learning providing education and training for people who suffer Blindness and Deafness disabilities later in life or who for some reason have not been able to go to school. Training includes computer literacy training, Braille literacy and South African Sign Language literacy training
Computer literacy training is to empower blind and Deaf persons to become computer literate.
Teaching a blind person to read a tactile system of dots on a page with signs
and signals called contractions or reading using fingers.
Interpreting is provided for Deaf persons to access Society
services in the communication form used by Deaf people. Basic sign language is also taught to community members for a fee.
The Society has 3 sheltered workshops: Basketry, Assembly and Sewing, which offers an avenue to provision clients with valuable skills and opportunities to alleviate some of the issues alluded to in the job placement priority area.
Hydroponics – to up-skill individual in hydroponics (available at Pietermaritzburg Regional Committee)
Awareness Programs are provided to communities, schools, corporates, government departments to promote the inclusion of disabled persons in all aspects of life.
A protective employment workshop is run for beneficiaries on weekdays. They engage in contract work and craft activities to keep them gainfully occupied and give them a sense of belonging.