'Among blind people, 75% of that population never attended school, 55% of which are females'. (Glimmer Hope organisation)
Alnour Institute is the only official primary school in Khartoum, where blind and visually impaired children have the opportunity to gain an education. Unfortunately due to various different factors funding being the main one, the institute's enrollment policy is limited to fifteen pupils per academic year. Pupils who are not accepted are left deeply disappointed and have to resort to attending mainstream schools.
Upon enrollment at Alnour Institute the students are introduced to the Braille language. They are taught how to read and write using basic Braille tools such as Braile plates, pens and cubrithum for maths. These tools play a major role in enhancing their education, in addition to giving them the confidence they need to navigate within society. However specialised equipment is costly and despite the institute's immense efforts they still struggle in securing enough funding to meet their needs.
Now, we know blind and visually impaired children have the ability to learn and thrive!
But how do they live independently without assistance? The White Cane helps them to manoeuvre independently and safely. This gives them the opportunity to interact with their surrounding environment and contribute to their community. When out on the streets they are able to stop a taxi or transportation, cross the road or request for guidance.
What you may not know about the blind and visually impaired
They are very creative, with high sensory processing sensitivity and exceptional memory, which makes them uniquely talented. In spite of the lack of resources, materials and support accessible to them in Sudan, they are able to overcome their obstacles and reach their full academic potential.
The situation in Sudan
It is evident that there needs to be amendments to the current educational system in Sudan in order to include the needs of children with visual impairments.
Glimmer of Hope Organization in Sudan prepared a digestive analysis of the Visual Impaired community in Sudan based on the National Census(2008) indicating that 64% of people with visual impairments never attended school, with a higher percentage of 55% of women never attending school at all. Among blind people, 75% of that population never attended school, 55% of which are females. The National Census also indicates that the majority of blind people in rural areas did not attend any schools, among which are also majority females.
What we can do as a society
We have a duty to protect and support children who are most vulnerable in our society. We need to respect and empower them. Every child has a right to an education and have their educational needs met. As a society we can work together collectively to remove the social and economical barriers faced by blind and visually impaired children. In addition, to also work towards making all schools in Sudan accessible for these children and equipped with the essential Braille tools and resources.