St. Francis Primary School for the Blind, Madera provides basic education for learners with visual impairment from all over Uganda regardless of sex, ethnic grouping and religion. Currently the school has an enrollment of 80 children (43 boys and 37 girls) aged between 4 and 18 years. 90% of these children are orphans as a result of HIV/AIDS, armed conflict and effects of abject poverty.
The school is registered with the Ministry of Education and Sports; Reg. EMIS No. 010711. It was founded in 1955 by the Little Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi (LSOSF) to provide an opportunity for children with visual impairment to access specialized formal primary school education. With the mission to provide basic education to learners with disabilities, Madera envisions providing quality education & sustainable skills for learners with visual impairment. The school also excels in both academics and co-curricular activities such as sports and music for persons with visual impairment.
Whereas in some early African traditions, blind children were looked as ‘pad locks’ whose roles were to keep the homes, today, St. Francis P/S for the Blind with support from well-wishers and Government has worked against this bad practice and educated over 930 children some of who have qualified as Telephone Operators, Teachers, Lawyers, Administrators, Social workers etc.
In Uganda, Children with visual impairment are often denied their rights to access basic needs such as education, food and better living conditions. Over 75 % of the children admitted in St. Francis Primary School for the Blind are blind, orphaned, neglected or marginalised economically and socially. The majority of these children come from poor families who are not able to afford basic education in terms of tuition, feeding and Braille paper.
The challenge of being blind puts these children at risk of either being denied education and other basic needs or dropping out of school. Once their education is discontinued, they become incapable of providing for themselves in future. Their guarantee for gainful employment and competitiveness in the job market will be undermined.
However, the School is faced with a number of challenges including inability of parents to raise fees, meet feeding costs and other scholastic needs. For this reason, the school has initiated a resource mobilisation drive ─ Children with Visual Impairment Sponsorship Project ─ to ensure that visually impaired children access education thus guaranteeing their future opportunities.
It is hoped that the sponsorship project will ensure that visually impaired children complete primary school education, join secondary and tertiary level so that they are skilled enough to provide for themselves in future in a sustainable manner. Well-wishers, government and development community in and without Uganda are therefore encouraged to support this noble cause. To make your contribution please contact CBR Africa Network through firstname.lastname@example.org for details.