The classroom of the centre
Spring is just around the corner in the city of Gjakova and the weather has gotten a lot better. The once lively and filled with students’ classroom of the Society of the Blind is still empty although rays of sunshine have covered the whole centre making it a very warm environment.
It was the 55th birthday of Shaip, one of our two instructors, the day I visited them and he insisted on ordering us coffee. Being visually-impaired himself, he managed to order us cups of coffee by pressing numbers with the help of an application linked to his phone from which he was able to hear whether the numbers he was dialing were correct. Having been touched and impressed by the level of independence Shaip shows, I was once more aware of the importance the Braille classes have in teaching and preparing blind children in adjusting to everyday life.
After we’ve had our coffee, both Xhafer and Shaip informed me that the Braille and Mobility classes are being held voluntarily once a week in the homes of the students. “Since we don’t have enough funds to bring the students here in the centre, we try to visit them at least once a week in their homes and check up on their challenges and successes even though it means we have to pay for the transport from our own pockets,” says Shaip. He goes on to tell me that the number of people who have registered in the Society of the Blind and asked for their help in 2018 was 15, and what is more alarming is that most of them are under the age of 30. According to Shaip and Xhafer, the percentage of visually-impaired youngsters is rising in Gjakova compared to previous years, so they are very thankful to have our support and determination in continuing these classes for more youngsters.
The officials of the municipality of Gjakova have promised to continue their support by moving them to a more spacious and appropriate centre in the coming months. Being very excited about this new opportunity for the children, both of our instructors are hoping that our support will enable new classes to starts soon.
A child who is born blind does not know what it is like to see. But we can help them touch the future they want. You can help them do so by donating whatever you can to restart these classes again. This may be a very small step for you but a huge leap to the children who have no other hope!
Another view of the classroom