A R1.5 million investment from the FNB Fund was recently made to the The KwaZulu-Natal Blind and Deaf Society (KZNBDS) to better the early detection of impaired vision and hearing among children at Early Childhood Development Centres (ECDs) in KZN eThekwini North District.
Howard Arrand, Chairman of the FNB Fund says, “early childhood development is chronically under resourced in South Africa and as a result, it is a primary focus for the FNB Fund. We firmly believe that our support for KZNBDS will help to facilitate the integration of children whose learning development may be hindered by impaired hearing and vision.”
The KZNBDS Academy of Learning provides education and training for adults who suffer Blindness and Deafness disabilities later in life, or who, for some reason have not been able to go to school. The Academy now also provides clients with opportunities to develop essential skills enabling them to secure employment, provide for their families, and take their rightful place in society.
The donation will help enhance the academies commitment to improve the quality of life of visually and hearing impaired citizens, KZNBDS has an outreach programme for early detection of impaired vision and hearing, targeting nearly 12 000 children at 113 ECD centres.
“Children with disabilities are often excluded from early learning opportunities because of stigma, access to adequate facilities and the general lack of awareness in communities, particularly rural areas. However, research shows that the inclusion of children with disabilities into mainstream early childhood development centres significantly improves their learning ability and integration into society.” says Justice Zak Yacoob, President of the KZN Blind and Deaf Society.