Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Institute for the Blind

My name is Christina Morley and I am an American missionary, married to a South African, with four kids, living in South Africa. I am also a volunteer at the Institute for the Blind in Worcester, South Africa. I read English material (exams, text books, novels, etc.) in a sound room at Pioneer Printers where all the braille gets printed.

Last month I was invited to tour their facilities and spend the morning at their annual function. It was a great experience to see the new things they are doing, old things that have been improved on, and to hear testimonies of how people's lives have been changed.

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Mr. Ray Aukett beside a
picture of Louis Braille

The Blindiana Museum
and Coffee Shop

Some of the guests, like myself, began the morning with a tour of the Blindiana Museum and coffee shop. We were shown around by Ray Aukett, a very knowledgeable man who represents the Blind Institute and who is visually impaired, and by Ledivia Hamman, the coordinator at the Information Centre, including The Blind Spot (conference and event centre) Fossil Trail, and Museum.

Tourists and visitors are most welcome to contact the Institute for the Blind for a guided tour.

Joseph Matheatau, the first blind
barista in South Africa, and
Ledivia Hamman, our tour guide

Joseph Matheatau - first blind barista
in South Africa

"At the Institute for the Blind, we don't stick to the confines of an institution. We are different, breaking the paradigm of traditional thinking. We are the central hub for blind progression in South Africa, and soon the world." - Freddie Botha (Executive Head)

Tactile Fossil Trail and Museum

Ledivia was a great tour guide -
friendly and enthusiastic

The Tactile Fossil Trail

Fossils to touch with Braille plaque

Tactile Museum

"The Institute is a place of learning, development and progression; for those with sight and without. We would like to change how the world sees the blind, and how the blind see the world." - Freddie Botha (Executive Head)

Peaceful Garden for Residents at the Blind Inst.

The Institute for the Blind in Worcester, South Africa, offers a safe haven for the visually impaired, multi-disabled and deaf-blind adults. There are a variety of skills that are taught and each individual is given the opportunity to lead a meaningful life to the capacity that he/she is able.

The 6 Production Departments

A big part of the skills training include the six production units: the Mattress Department, the Woodworking Department, the Weaving Department, the Cane Department, the Creative Projects Department, and the Metal Department. Here, the adult residents at the Blind Institute create beautiful, high-quality products. Having fulfilling jobs allows them to lead meaningful lives. They also take pride in knowing that they are able to make a vital contribution to the country's working sector.

Mattress Department

Woodworking Department

Weaving Department

Weaving Department

Cane Department

Some of the Items for Sale

New Name for the Blind Institute:
Kaleidoscope - Let the Blind Lead

"Life is like an ever shifting kaleidoscope; a slight change and all patterns alter." - Sharon Salzberg

"The idea behind a kaleidoscope is that it's a structure that's filled with broken bits and pieces, and somehow if you can look through them, you still see something beautiful. And I feel that we are all that way a little bit." - Sara Bareiles

Tina Morley

All original photographs
by Tina Morley unless
stated otherwise.

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