By Lee-Yandra Paulsen
In the lead-up to the final State of the Nation Address of the sixth administration, Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, spearheaded an outreach programme aimed at tackling issues of gender-based violence, youth empowerment, women’s rights and disabilities in and around Cape Town.
Commencing her outreach at the Cape Town Society for the Blind (CTSB) in Salt River on Monday, Minister Zulu lauded the organisation’s efforts in training and skill development for the visually impaired. She recently toured the facility, which also houses a state-of-the-art Low Vision Clinic. Reflecting on her experience, Minister Zulu expressed admiration for the clinic’s comprehensive approach to eye health. “This was much more than what I normally experience… I also found that they use modern equipment,” she remarked.
Expressing concern over the closure of the Durban centre for the Blind, Minister Zulu emphasized the need for similar facilities nationwide. “We have people in all provinces who are partially blind or blind…they can walk, they have their hands, and they can feel,” she stated, highlighting the importance of accessibility to vision care services.
The CTSB’s Low Vision Clinic and Braille programmes are supported by the National Development Agency and offer free eye health care and screening to underserved communities, fulfilling the organisation’s mission.
Sandra Dreyer, Head of the Department of Training and Development at CTSB, outlined their comprehensive strategy, emphasizing an entry-exit approach that integrates awareness campaigns, skills assessment, and career development for visually impaired individuals. “Our training consists of soft skills…to build up the students’ self-esteem and reintegrate them into society,” she explained.
Concluding the first leg of her outreach, Minister Zulu visited the Sozo Foundation in the Cape Flats, a local nonprofit focused on youth development. The foundation’s programmes target young people not in education, employment, or training, aligning with Minister Zulu’s commitment to empowering marginalized communities.