In Ethiopia live more than 1.25 million people who are blind. People with a visual impairment belong in Ethiopia to the most disadvantaged groups in social and economic terms. The level of education is low and these people often have a lack of self-confidence because they deal with stigma, prejudice and rejection. About 80% of the blind cannot participate in economic activities and have no income.
More than 90% of the blind children in Ethiopia do not go to school. Parents see a blind child as a disgrace; It is often interpreted as a punishment of God. Most of these children often come not from their huts or their house. As a result of this social isolation disappears their future prospects and they have in fact no chance.
TTAF launched in 2007 a first school for blind children. Despite their handicap to see nothing, these children have fun, they learn braille and social skills. When the pupils two years education at this school have followed, they are ready for regular education. Evaluations show that these blind children within the normal education functioning very good and even belong to the best of the class. This makes their arrears totally caught up: they have the same opportunities as children who can see indeed. In addition, the community also made it clear that blind and partially sighted people simply belong to and have all rights and opportunities as those ones that do. Currently TTAF supports two schools for blind children where each school has about 10 children in the first year and 10 children in the second year.
TTAF would like more blind children to school. Considered is how this can be achieved. As noted, the experiences with schools for blind children positive. However for blind children in the more remote areas, the access for these schools almost non existent. Also the blind children that are relatively more in the vicinity of these schools should attend the children in boarding school. The placing of children on a daily basis is not an option. This makes everything expensive. TTAF wants to see that there is also a possibility that blind children participate directly in primary education. The thought behind this is that blind children in the more remote areas get a chance on education which places a boarding school is not necessary yet make it possible to education. It is not obvious that blind children are not in education!
This is certainly an ambitious desire. However this is not new and also in Ethiopia are organisations that have experience with that.
To test the feasibility of this TTAF would like to perform a pilot over the next year. In recent months contacts were made to prepare the pilot. Important principle that applies to the TTAF project is: Ethiopia by Ethiopians.