By Memory Chatonda
BLANTYRE, Mana: Airtel Malawi on Wednesday donated assistive devices for visually impaired learners at Blantyre Secondary Schools and Mulanje Vocation Training and Rehabilitation Centre for the blind to help them read printed materials.
The assistive devices include, embossing paper, braille machine (embosser), braille hand frame and stylus among others.
Speaking after making the donation at Blantyre Secondary School, Airtel Malawi Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Brand Communications Norah Chirwa said the company values education in its corporate social responsibility as it is the key to the development of the country.
“As Airtel Malawi, we are very passionate to promote education at all levels. As such, last year we engaged Ministry of Gender to guide us on which schools to assist with assistive devices for visually impaired learners to enable them improve in their education.
“ Gladly, the Ministry helped us with information and Airtel Malawi will provide assistive devices worth k15 million to five institutions including Department of Disability, Ekwendeni school for the blind and Chiranga school for the blind,” she explained.
Chirwa therefore advised the recipient institutions to take care of the donated braille materials to ensure that more people with visual impairment benefit.
In his remarks, a Form Four student from Blantyre Secondary School Chifundo Petro, expressed gratitude to Airtel Malawi for the donation, emphasizing that the move is a motivation to many visually impaired learners to attend classes.
“Previously, we had two functional braille machines against seven learners with visual impairment. As such, during learning session, it was very difficult for some of us to actively participate.
“But with the donation of five braille machine, it means everyone will have each machine and be able to read printed materials in so doing, improving our performance in class,” he said.
Also Tedson Chimera from Mulanje Vocation Training and Rehabilitation Centre for the blind believed things will change for the better as the school has been supported with assistive devices which it has been struggling to provide in its quest to spearhead teaching and learning sessions.
“We are well versed that such materials are expensive and they are not available in Malawi. We thank Airtel Malawi for supporting us with braille material to ease challenges faced by learners and teachers,” he said.
Adam Mulagha, Principal for Mulanje Vocation Training and Rehabilitation Centre for the blind urged other institutions and well wishing individuals to emulate what Airtel Malawi has done to alleviate the plight of visually impaired learners in country’s education institutions.