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90 years of excellence - School for the Blind on the hunt for $15m to continue top quality service

Published:Friday | August 4, 2017 | 12:00 AMNadine Wilson-Harris
Iyeke Erharuyi, Principal of the Salvation Army School for the Blind inside the school's library which needs upgrading.

Administrators of the Salvation Army School for the Blind and Visually Impaired are pushing to raise $15 million this year to refurbish the school's library which was built in 1970.

"Our library is not up to the 21st century so that we (are not) able to support children with visual impairment to learn the subjects we want them to learn," said principal of the school, Iyeke Erharuyi.

The school will be celebrating 90 years in November and Erharuyi said new equipment is needed to make the library fully functional going forward.

He said that they will need new shelves, air-conditioning units, and reading machines, among other things.

"Some of our students with low vision, they might not need to use glasses, and even if they use, they will still need to use magnifiers, and this reading machine will be able to enlarge the print to the level and the format that they are able to read," he said.

Given the school's history of producing talented musicians, Erharuyi is hoping that some of these individuals will come on board to perform during an evening of music being planned to raise funds for the refurbishing of the library.

The principal is pleased with the accomplishment of the school over the last 90 years. Apart from those enrolled at the institution, another eight are currently pursuing studies at traditional high schools in Kingston and St Elizabeth. Support is provided for these students who are integrated into other schools.




"Years ago, we realised that it is not fair to our students where we constrained them to come to this segregated setting," said Erharuyi, as he added that a programme aimed at identifying and registering children in communities who are visually blind has been going very well.

"Knowing fully well that in the society we live in today, there are some of those children whose parents are not willing to let them out, we go to communities to identify them," he said.

Once enrolled, these students are introduced to a curriculum, which enables them to be functional in society.

"We are proud today that we can identify with some of our past students who have done well in the society, who are serving," said Erharuyi.