Blind shine at graduation ceremony

The Cape Town Society for the Blind’s 2023 graduates.

About 50 blind and visually impaired people have received recognition for training they completed through courses run by the Cape Town Society for the Blind.

The graduates received certificates for computer literacy, cane weaving, public speaking, material weaving, braille reading and smartphone training, during a ceremony at the non-profit organisation’s Salt River premises on Thursday November 30.

“I am proud of their accomplishments. Some of them struggled to get here on a daily basis; they overcame adversity and many obstacles and the fact we could help them with their independence to travel to this facility is heart-warming,” said the society’s CEO, Judith Coetzee.

Badroeniesah Joubert, 26, of Bellville South, who received training in public speaking and office management, said: “I am excited to receive this certificate to help me achieve my educational goals as I started this course in August, which was also the first time I started travelling on my own.”

Ms Joubert was born partially sighted and has been blind since the age of 12.

“It was challenging in the beginning though I had to adapt to it very quickly,” she said.

Someday she would like to study psychology, social work or law, she said.

Langa Cokile, 29, of Khayelitsha, who received an A symbol for a computer literacy course, said he had been blind for over a year.

“The first few months had been really hard though the organisation has been helpful since I started here in February.”

Kyle Breedekamp, 31, of Strandfontein, received a certificate for getting top marks in a course that teaches trainees how to use their smartphones to gain more independence.

He now uses TalkBack, a screen reader app that helps him navigate his phone.

Mr Breedekamp said he worked in construction before a brain operation to remove a tumour two years ago had left him blind.

He had struggled to adapt after losing his sight but the society had helped him with that, he said.

“I learnt a lot here and he would like to improve on braille reading and cane weaving,” he said.

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Langa Cokile, middle receives a trophy from social worker Marisa Teles, left, and the Cape Town Society for the Blind’s CEO, Judith Coetzee.
Kyle Breedekamp receives an award from social worker Marisa Teles, left, and sponsor representative Karen Smit.