Visually Impaired But Able
We are excited to announce the launch of this new initiative called Visually Impaired But Able (VIBA), we are committed to reaching out to people who are blind or have moderate to severe visual impairment, one family at a time, with a single objective of improving their quality of life. VIBA aims to empower through resources that will optimize functionality and foster self-sufficiency, all for the glory of our Lord, Jesus.
From early childhood to late adulthood, vision facilitates various complexities of life management. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that on a global scale, 36 million people are completely blind, while approximately 217 million people have moderate to severe visual impairment (MSVI), totalling approximately 253 million people worldwide. Of these, 89% of the total number live in low and middle-income countries. When we narrow it down to just Africa, WHO states that an estimated total of 26.3 million people live with a form of visually impaired, of which 5.9 million are completely blind. In addition to the existing economic and political limitations in these nations, being blind and/or having MSVI is associated with lower workforce participation, unequal opportunity to work, social exclusion and marginalization, lower chance of personal goal attainment, poor health outcomes, and overall just a lower quality of life. As a result, our hearts are filled with compassion for many of our brothers and sisters in Christ with MSVI. They face significant challenges for survival that often lead them into the streets, which in turn exposes them to physical and sexual assault, falls and injuries, kidnapping, exploitation, and in more severe cases, death. To them, this is a reality and a part of their daily struggle. Therefore, our goal is to assist as many as we can, one family at at time. The desired outcome will be achieved through the four-step process outlined below:-
1. Identify Immediate needs
Once we identify the family/individual we will be working with, they will often have unique challenges that will require immediate attention before we can empower them. Thus, this first step is to identify and address those needs, which may include shelter, clothing, food, urgent medical attention, etc.
2. Identify their strengths and skills
Once they are in a stable condition, we will work with them to map out their goals, aspirations, strengths, and skills that they already have. The goal is to channel out and identify the ‘sweet-spot’ where their passions intersect with their existing skills and empower them to strategically follow through.
3. Assist them with skills training
The blind and visually impaired people are capable of work, however, they may not have received adequate, if any, training in any skill or trade. Therefore, if skills training is deemed necessary, they will be referred for further assistance through our Burden Bearers Skills Training Program.
4. Fair Start
In this final step, we will assist these people with getting off the ground on their journey to independence. The individual’s unique case will be carefully analyzed to identify the most appropriate help required to set them up for success. Assistance can include connecting them with gainful employment that matches their skills, initial capital to start their business or projects, lobbying government organizations, or referral to other organizations that will assist.
Meet Some Individuals Looking for Help Today
Meet Limson Mambiyo, a remarkable man who has overcome many challenges in his life. Limson lost his
sight around 1978 after he contracted measles as a child. Despite his disability, he pursued his education
and completed form four with four subjects. However, finding a job was not easy for him and he had to
resort to begging in the streets to survive. He has been doing this for 20 years and he knows how hard it
is to live in the streets.
Ethel, who resides in Epworth, became blind after she was allegedly bewitched by her friend’s grandmother. She supports her family of four children and an unemployed husband by begging on the street. However, this is not a reliable source of income and she sometimes faces challenges in paying rent and providing for her family. Additionally, she is vulnerable to sexual abuse on the street.
Patience is 33 years old and has been blind since she was a child. Despite her disability, she completed her secondary education and obtained four subjects. She is also a mother of four children, whom she loves and cares for. She survives by begging in the street, hoping for some kindness from strangers. Patience has a dream of becoming an entrepreneur and improving her living conditions.
He was born sighted, but he lost his vision on October 15, 1975, a Tuesday that changed his life forever. He does not remember the cause of his blindness, but he remembers the pain and the fear that followed. Since 1980, Mr Chikomo has been surviving by begging in the streets and in the buses. He says it is not a dignified way of living, but he has no other choice. He has a wife and six children to support. His two
older children have their own families as well, but they are also struggling to make ends meet. Mr Chikomo says he is the one who assists his children with a lot of things, such as paying school fees and buying groceries.
Meet Hardlife Njerere who became blind when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor at a very young
age. He has faced significant challenges in his life due to his blindness and despite him being learned he
is struggling to get a job because of his situation. Hardlife Njerere has a Diploma in Disability Studies and ever since he has finished, he has not been able to get a job.
Elizabeth was born blind and lost her husband in 2011. She was left with two children, but later had a third child with a man who did not want to stay with her. Elizabeth survives by begging in the streets, but she cannot afford to send her children to school. Her dream is to start a small business of buying and selling goods, so that she can provide for her family.
Zondani Mupapa is a blind man who lives in poverty and struggles to provide for his family. He lost his sight when he was a child after contracting measles, a disease that can cause serious complications. Because of his blindness, he could not go to school and learn the skills he needed to find a decent job. He resorted to begging in the streets, but he faced many challenges and hardships. He said that people were not very compassionate or generous, and sometimes they even abused or ignored him.
"It is not how much we give but how much love we put into giving."