Swakop school for the visually impaired soon to be a reality

Photo: Contributed EDUCATION FOR ALL … An artist impression of what the school for the visually impaired at Swakopmund will look like.

Registration of pupils at the planned school for the visually impaired at Swakopmund commenced in March.

The school will provide education for visually impaired and blind children under The Promiseland Trust, a non-profit organisation based at Walvis Bay.

The trust is involved in several community service projects.

According to Promiseland trustee Michelle Wilson, the trust was contacted by an anonymous Swakopmund-based family trust in 2021 to drive the project.

“It has taken a while to get everything in place, but the school has now been approved by the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, and will be known as the Pro-ed Academy School For the Visually Impaired And Blind. It will be part of and built at the Pro-ed Academy at Swakopmund.

“It was decided to build a school for visually impaired pupils at the coast as there is no such facility in the area, and we knew there had to be a need. We encourage anyone that knows of someone that is visually impaired, especially children from four to five years old, to register their children,” said Wilson.

“There will be a strict screening process, but anyone is welcome to see if they are eligible. A principal has already been appointed and there will be at least two teachers, depending on how many children per class. At this stage, it would be ideal if we could start with two classes at Grade R (or equivalent) level, with about five children in each class. We have some children enrolled, but have space for more, so we encourage people to contact us.

“The school is envisaged to start with phase one on 11 January 2024,” said Wilson.

The project will provide the required financial backing for the school, which will initially provide entry-level foundational education on a day school basis. It also plans to have a hostel to accommodate out-of-town pupils, which will be built as soon as the need has been established.

The school grounds were already procured from the Swakopmund municipality, and will operate as a division of the existing private school.

Schooling will be subsidised or free for children whose parents cannot afford to pay the school fees. A means test will be applied to ensure fairness.

Parents of family members and friends of blind or visually impaired children who are interested in enrolling their children can contact 081 297 8312.

Swakopmund mayor Dina Namubes expressed her excitement about the school.

“Everyone, regardless of gender, religion, age, disability, etc., values education. I appreciate this effort and will support the school since everyone in my neighbourhood will benefit and no one will be left behind. The council supports all forms of education, because it is the only lasting legacy and financially rewarding accomplishment one may ever have. The Promiseland Trust has my deepest gratitude for opening this school in January.”

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