MONIQUE Pursglove and Kate Thompson are delighted that their fellow students at Aotea College in Porirua will be learning about blindness in the lead up to Blind Week (October 29 – November 4).
Both Monique and Kate have low vision and use different techniques to participate in school life. Monique uses an iPad to take pictures of the whiteboard and then magnifies the image so she can see it. Kate navigates around the school with a white cane and has help from a teacher aide.
To help build awareness about life with low vision, teacher Courtney Blakemore has organised the school’s first Blind Awareness Week with the help of the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB).
During the week, all classrooms will have new braille signage added to their doors. Students will try out games such as goal ball; study the music of Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles and Andrea Bocelli; study achievements of blind people; and learn about technology designed for the blind.
“It’s really cool that everyone at school is getting to know about blindness. Not being able to see well isn’t all bad. You just have to learn to do things differently,” says Monique.
Kate agrees, “It’s great that everyone will learn about the amazing things that blind people have done.”
‘Aotea College will hold a Blind Week bake sale and mufti day to help raise money for the RNZFB. In addition to this, Courtney is running the adidas Auckland Half Marathon for the RNZFB.
“As a teacher, I have the privilege of working with a diverse and inspiring range of young people including those who are blind or live with vision impairments. I am pleased to help the RNZFB raise funds for the essential services they provide.”
To make a donation, look out for Blind Week collectors in bright orange vests on the street on Friday 1 November and Saturday 2 November, visit www.blindweek.org.nz or call 0800 DONATE.