While most people pack beachwear and a good book for a holiday abroad, Linda Webb a teacher in the Visual Impairment team, squeezed 4 braille typewriters, braille books and toys into her suitcase on a recent trip to Uganda.
Linda and her husband visited his son in Uganda during the Easter holidays, but whilst they were out there delivered £900 worth of equipment to the Centre for Visually Impaired Children in Kampala.
Wanting to do something to help whilst on their trip, Linda took to Facebook to find a school for visually impaired children. She contacted them to ask what resources they needed and they explained that they had 13 blind children in the school and only four Perkins braille typewriters, which are the equivalent of paper and pencil to a blind pupil. They were also desperately short of reading books or toys to develop tactile skills.
Linda set up a Just Giving page (https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/uganda-vi-resources) to raise money to help pay for the equipment, and amazingly raised £900 in 3 weeks! She also held a coffee morning, and busked in Ludlow on a bitterly cold day in March.
Linda took 4 Perkins braille typewriters, 3 packs of braille paper, tactile rulers and protractors, construction toys, noisy puzzles, new braille books, auditory footballs and PE equipment and 14 boxes of second-hand braille books donated by various schools and colleges and Babcock’s Sensory Impairment Team.
Upon arrival at the school Linda and her husband were entertained by the children playing folk music on a melodeon and flute, and they sang songs about disability rights.
Of her experience Linda said “The teachers were overwhelmed with the new equipment, and have presented us with framed certificates to thank us for the support. We enjoyed a tour of the school, but were humbled by the challenges staff have had to deal with. All the children board, but they have no government funding and most parents are too poor to pay the fees. The Head Teacher’s husband grows all the food on his plot of land and it is cooked on a charcoal fire”.
Linda also spent time training staff at the school on how to use the tactile maths equipment and how to engage slower learners in literacy.
The Sensory Impairment Team have decided to continue the support to help buy the children new uniforms, and have just raised £41 by selling cakes and cookies at Prime House.