IGANGA, UGANDA: The Iganga District Woman Member of Parliament Hon Kauma Sauda Alibaawo in partnership with the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) on Friday donated Two million shillings (shs2m) to Iganga Secondary School towards repairing braille machines used by visually impaired students in writing and reading.
While handing over the cash money to Ms Nakaziba Monica the School Headmistress, EOC’s Head of Research, Monitoring and Evaluation, Mr Lukungu Bashir said that while on a trail with Hon Kauma to ascertain the operation of the school, they discovered that the school had less operational braille machines since others needed repair.
“On our visit to the school recently with Hon Kauma Alibaawo, we established that braille machines were spoilt and needed repair, so we pledged to solicit funds to meet the expenses of repair. We learnt that 2m was needed to repair the 40 machines and as EOC and Hon Kauma, we raised this money to repair these machines to allow these students to study well,” Mr Lukungu said.
He however stressed that during their visit, they also realized that visually impaired students at A-level can study only art subjects like history, literature and divinity given the scarcity of converted braille machines to enable them to read and write well adding that;
“Even teachers to handle science disciplines for visually impaired students are scarce and Uganda has got for example only three teachers who can teach braille mathematics with one here, another one at Kyambogo University, while the third one retired. But unfortunately, the one here is on a one-year contract since he retired time back.”
The Woman MP Iganga District Hon Sauda Kauma Alibaawo said during the visit, they identified 40 machines which were not functional and they required 50,000= each to be repaired, totalling 2m altogether. She commended the equal opportunities commission for working with her in soliciting funds to cater for the repairs.
“The 40 braille machines needed 2m altogether for repair and we pledged to meet this amount together. Here we’re to fulfill our pledge and I want to thank EOC for working with me in assisting the visually impaired students. We have however learnt about other challenges at the school which we think shall be addressed to the ministry like shortage of requirements for these special needs(SNE) students,” Hon Kauma said.
The Headmistress Iganga SS, Ms Nakaziba Monica Kayiira said the machines help students to read and write adding that they are grateful for receiving money from EOC and Hon Kauma, which will assist them in repairing braille machines. This comes after the duo pledged to assist the school to repair the sensitive machines.
“I’m happy that today they have fulfilled their pledge by giving us 2m shillings to repair the machines. The special needs students use these machines to read and write since they cannot read what we can write,” Ms. Nakaziba said adding that the machines are few and expensive to repair yet the school can’t handle lessons for visually impaired students without them.
The head of special needs department at Iganga secondary school, Mr Okiror Justine commended the commission together with Hon Kauma Alibaawo for partnering to repair the braille machines. He said the support is a huge contribution to the department as a number of visually impaired students will access the machines for reading and writing purposes.
“We want to acknowledge that we have received the two million shillings and it’s going towards the repair of the braille machines which are used by blind people to write. We want particularly to thank EOC and the woman MP Iganga for remembering people who need support like us, may you continue supporting us and keep on looking for more well-wishers to support the department,” Mr Okiror said.