An International Non-Governmental Organization, Helen Keller International, has on Wednesday 27th July 2011 donated transcribed into brailed core text books of primary schools worth 6 million Leones and a digital Keyboard worth 1.8 million Leones to Vocational Training Centre for the Blind at the Rural Training Institute (RTI) in Kenema.
Presenting the items at the school compound at RTI, the Programme Manager for Neglected Tropical Disease / Eye Health of Helen Keller International, Mustapha Sonnie, said the donation is part of a one-year project funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The beneficiaries include five schools of the blind across the country: school for the blind in Koidu City in Kono District and Kenema in Kenema District, all in the eastern region; Bombali and Kabala in the northern region, and Paul school for the Blind in Bo, southern region which will later benefit.
Sonnie says the entire project cost about Le30 million and that each package include teachers’ training, advocacy, text books of core subjects in braile and one electronic keyboard, rehabilitation and the construction of a new structure for each centre.
He said the keyboard is to be used by beneficiaries at their leisure hours to entertain themselves and their families.
Giving brief background of the organization, Sonnie says Helen Keller International is an International organization that derived its name after an American woman named, Helen Keller, who became blind, deaf and mute at the age of 19 months, but despite her odds, she was able to get her University degree by putting all her course work on the issue of the blind.
He added that the organization has been more of preventive than curative measures since 2004, and their funding is international, but that they also receive support from the Sierra Leone Government.
Mr. Sonnie stated that Helen Keller International is committed to the issues of disability in making them become self-reliant by building their capacity.
He disclosed that every month, teachers will be taking from each centre in the provinces to the Milton Margai School for the Blind in Freetown for refresher training, and assured beneficiaries of the continued support of Helen Keller International.
Receiving their items on behalf of the beneficiary schools for the blind, Hanafi Sowa, Coordinator for the Vocational Institution for the blind, thanked Helen Keller International for the gesture, saying that the name Helen Keller International is a household name not only at the school for the blind at RTI but across the nation.
By Saffa Moriba