Flagship Project of JHB Society for the Blind

Education and Skills Development Training Academy

JSB offers educational opportunities to visually impaired youth in response to their exclusion from mainstream education centres. The initiative has three goals:

>  Improve visually impaired youth educational achievement;
>  Prepare youth for succeeding in the workplace;
>  Provide support services to the youth.

To improve the employment of the visually impaired, the organization opened the Training Academy in 2009, which offers accredited training on the following:

>  Computers (National Certificate in End-User Computing)
>  Contact Centre Training in partnership with EEC College
>  The 2nd Chance Matric Project in partnership with City Deep Adult College

The ‘Complete Your Matric’ Project was developed to assist visually impaired youth in attaining their matric. The first intake for the matriculation programme had eight candidates, who registered a 100 percent pass rate in results released by the Department of Basic Education in July 2012. The impressive Matric results clearly show that given the right opportunities and support, youth with visual impairment can also make major contributions to the social-economic development of South Africa.

In 2019, enrolment increased to 21 students as part of JSB’s broader aim to create a demand for schooling opportunities for youth with visual impairments. This will contribute to minimizing the lack of access that visually impaired  individuals have to training and educational opportunities. This reality is perpetuated by, to name a few contributors, lack of resources and commitment from the authorities, inadequate trained educators and limited access to Education and Training facilities catering to the specific and unique needs of people living with disablities. The current intake is 21 Students in 2020/2021 financial year.

The Matriculation project is linked to the other training streams at JSB: End-User Computer and Call Centre training, vocational training in cane weaving, basketry and furniture-making. These courses promote access to on-the-job training, employment and opportunities for self-employment. We also have 4 blind residents who completed their Social Auxiliary work training 1 resident pursuing a Diploma in Adult Education through Unisa.

Thus, apart from income and employment opportunities, the education and skills development initiative also brings personal and social benefits, adding to a sense of human dignity among the visually impaired youth.

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