Not everyone gets to see Africa

Visiting those working with the Blind in Rwanda

Posted by Claire Gillman on March 16, 2014

Trainees at the Masaka Resource Centre
Nick with Donatilla of the RUB and Mahati of MyRight

Nick with Donatilla of the RUB and Mahati of MyRight

 

The Centre's 'teaching aids'

The Centre’s ‘teaching aids’

Through our contact, Bernard Bagweneza who is the country coordinator for MyRight, an umbrella organisation for people with disabilities in Rwanda, we were introduced to two great representatives of organisations helping blind people and who are working with Vision 2020. Firstly, we met Donatilla Kanimba who is the Executive Director of the Rwandan Union of the Blind. She had just returned from New York where she received an award on behalf of the charity’s for it’s work with the blind in Rwanda. The RUB helps to establish local associations of blind people and provides the necessary training to help them manage their own associations. We learnt a great deal from our talks with this remarkable woman who herself has been blind from birth. Later that day, we visited the Masaka Resource Centre for the Blind. The Director of this residential rehabilitation centre, Jean-Marie Mukeshimanavianney took the time to explain the work of the charity, to take us on a tour of the facilities and to give us an opportunity to meet the students or ‘trainees’ as they are more often called. During their six month stay at the centre, the trainees are taught skills that will help them in their community and home. Firstly mobility and then how to read Braille plus how to grow crops and tend animals such as cows, chickens and rabbits, which Jean-Marie jokingly called their ‘teaching aids.’ During their training period, the students return home for a month so that their families and community can see how much they have learnt. Jean-Marie was very keen to ensure that people see that the students can have a useful role to play in their society. At the end of our visit, we had our photograph taken together with the Jean-Marie and the students and we’re looking forward to collaborating in the future. Visiting those working with the Blind in Rwanda Through our contact, Bernard Bagweneza who is the country coordinator for MyRight, an umbrella organisation for people with disabilities in Rwanda, we were introduced to two great representatives of organisations helping blind people and who are working with Vision 2020. Firstly, we met Donatilla Kanimba who is the Executive Director of the Rwandan Union of the Blind. She had just returned from New York where she received an award on behalf of the charity’s for it’s work with the blind in Rwanda. The RUB helps to establish local associations of blind people and provides the necessary training to help them manage their own associations. We learnt a great deal from our talks with this remarkable woman who herself has been blind from birth. Later that day, we visited the Masaka Resource Centre for the Blind. The Director of this residential rehabilitation centre, Jean-Marie Mukeshimanavianney took the time to explain the work of the charity, to take us on a tour of the facilities and to give us an opportunity to meet the students or ‘trainees’ as they are more often called. During their six month stay at the centre, the trainees are taught skills that will help them in their community and home. Firstly mobility and then how to read Braille plus how to grow crops and tend animals such as cows, chickens and rabbits, which Jean-Marie jokingly called their ‘teaching aids.’ During their training period, the students return home for a month so that their families and community can see how much they have learnt. Jean-Marie was very keen to ensure that people see that the students can have a useful role to play in their society. At the end of our visit, we had our photograph taken together with the Jean-Marie and the students and we’re looking forward to collaborating in the future.

Tags: ,
  • Share on Facebook

11 Responses to “Visiting those working with the Blind in Rwanda”

  1. Sally Marr says:

    I am going to try another blog reply . The last one was ‘pending’ for a couple of weeks then disappeared ! Donatilla sounds like an amazing lady and wonderful that you can hopefully support their charity in the future. It was lovely to hear Nicks voice on ‘listen’ and enjoyed his reflections (not sure about the old girl title though ! ) Glad you’re having such a brilliant time and its great to be able to follow your adventures.Take care.xxx

    • I was out the room when he recorded that message – he’s in a lot of trouble over the old girl comments! Mind you, I’m on my third Savannah Dry after 8 weeks with no alcohol so feeling benign towards the world. Glad you enjoyed the audioblog – good to know you’re following us – I think Nick and Chris sound very alike. The resource centre was marvellous – watching the trainees moving about on a farm environment – Paul will know what it’s like with cows – was really impressive.

      Give our love to all

      Claire &Nick xxxxxx

    • What a cheek, eh! Old girl indeed. Sorry your last blog disappeared but lovely to hear from you. Xxxxx

  2. jane chapman says:

    That sounds an interesting experience – I love the teaching aids! Claire, I wonder if any of the trainees will end up as piano tuners?! Blog is great and keep posting the photos. Missing you
    xxxxx

  3. Fran says:

    Donatilla sounds amazing, and I love the idea of agricultural training for blind people. Maybe I should go and live there… Still loving the updates from you – getting more envious by the day and so glad you’re having such an amazing time! F xx

  4. Dave says:

    What a privilege to meet such inspirational folk; great memories. Glad to hear Claire is quenching her terrible thirst with a few Savannah Drys. x

  5. Mick E says:

    Nice to hear your voice Nick! I was starting getting a bit fed up with Claire’s perfection. Can’t believe you are half way already.
    Been following the trip regularly – amazing hardly does it justice.
    Did you meet any of the other ‘Hero’s in a half shell?’, this sounds like a project with far reaching impact.
    Take care both
    M

  6. Val says:

    Have logged in today Claire, after staying away for too long. I’ve enjoyed catching up your blog more than catch up TV, especially the ‘It’s A Knockout’ White Water Rafting episode – very brave indeed, I can imagine your squeels! I had waterey eyes for a different reason after reading your story about Donatilla… A truly amazing woman.
    You’re both looking very well Claire. We’re missing you lots here in NA.
    I’m so looking forward to a Savannah Dry with you in May… Val xx

Leave a Reply

Website Security Test