Blind SA CEO, Jace Nair says blind and partially sighted school children do not have access to books in braille.

His comments come as South Africa observes International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3.

The day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues, the rights of persons with disabilities and gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of the political, social, economic and cultural life of their communities.

The White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities states that the employment equity and work opportunity targets for persons with disabilities should increase to at least 7% by the year 2030.

According at report by the South African Human Rights Commission between 500 000 and 600 000 children with disabilities are out of school.

While  Statistics South Africa says  about 430 000 people have low vision and around 7 700 children are blind.

Nair says learners do not have access to braille writing machines that they can use individually.

“So the challenge of learning and teaching becomes great for learners at schools. The majority of learners who are blind or partially sighted live in a residential facility which is far from home, so they generally find themselves isolated from their communities because the only time they go home is during the school holidays and that could be three or four times in the year. The need for social integration and social coercion is so important and that children should be accommodate at their local schools.”

He says 90% of blind adults have low levels of literacy and skills, therefore the majority of them are unemployed.

“It is estimated that only 60% of blind people are employed in the public or private sector, so there is a need for blind and partially sighted persons to earn an income by being exposed to entrepreneurial training so that they can set up a small businesses to be able to earn an income.”

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