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World Sight Day: School of Blind begs for adequate funding

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Visually impaired people observing "World Sight Day"Visually impaired people observing “World Sight Day”

By Felicia Imohimi

The Management of School of the Blind, Jabi, FCT, on has solicited the support of government for improved funding to ensure academic excellence of the visually impaired pupils.

Mrs Regina Dung, Head Teacher of the school, made the appeal in Jabi on Thursday during a road walk organised by the Nigerian Optometric Association (NOA), in commemoration of the 2018 World Sight Day with the theme “Universal Eyecare”.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the World Sight Day is commemorated globally every second Thursday of October.

The day was set aside by international communities to draw attention of governments and other stakeholders to the challenges facing the populace in respect to eye care.

The head teacher expressed displeasure that the school was poorly funded considering expectations to be met, as well as the enormous challenges of the pupils.

On some of the challenges impeding quality academic performance in the school, Dung said they include lack of teaching aid, inadequate funding and lack of conducive learning environment

“A book for the regular child goes for N50 while a brail paper for the visually impaired child goes for N3,500.

“The environment is not conducive for the visually impaired people to move around independently; so we solicit for government to come to our aid to improve their learning skills and well-being.

“So, if government is allocating one million naira to regular schools, it should allocate three million to visually impaired schools; this will enhance academic performance.

“Also, 80 per cent of the visually impaired pupils are from poor socio-economic background and cannot afford the cost of these aids.

“Ordinary N5,000 would have prevented majority of them from going blind but due to poor financial status of their parents, they find themselves in this condition,” the head teacher said.

Speaking on behalf of the pupils of the school, Blessing Okon, a visually impaired, commended NOA for counting them worthy to participate in the commemoration.

She, however, noted some of their challenges to include inadequate computers, lack of brail machines and typewriters.

According to her, if these machines are available in the school, it will go a long way to aid their writing skills and capability.

“When I got blind some years ago, I thought all hope of schooling was gone.

“I never knew that being handicapped does not deter anyone from forging ahead academically.

“Though we still lack a lot of facilities in the school but the school has really helped us,” she said.

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