Although blind children have the right to attend public schools, sometimes schools lack sufficient conditions for accepting them or they are not accepted socially due to false impressions regarding their capacities to learn.
The Committee of Blind Women has involved youth in raising awareness among school directors, teachers, and pupils about the challenges that blind students face, their needs, and the importance of using the Braille alphabet in schools.
“I need you to get good grades at school and set an example of excellence for other students in order to convince people to help us achieve our aim,” the Committee’s Director, Bajramshahe Jetullahu, told blind youth who had gathered in September to learn about and join the initiative.
The Committee of Blind Women sought to encourage and empower youth to advocate for their right to education, supported by the Kosovo Women’s Fund (€2,878).
“Our greatest need is to have the understanding of citizens,” said a young woman participant. “They need to understand that you can never know what life will bring you. Maybe one day they will become [blind] like us, and they will need somebody to help them.”
In close cooperation with two school directors, the Committee has introduced Braille tables in two primary schools in Prishtina. The nearly life size tables are used to explain the Braille alphabet to pupils within public schools. Thus, introducing the tables also has involved organizing lectures for approximately 140 pupils and teachers about Braille, as well as sharing information about the particular needs that blind pupils have.
Pupils actively took part in these discussions, curiously asking questions. Some students scribbled down information about the Braille tables in their notebooks with fascination.
“Can I be excused for two minutes,” a student said. “I just need to go get my notebook because I want to write down these explanations and share them with my family and friends.”
Beyond introducing Braille in school, the initiative educated students and their families about the challenges faced by blind people and the support that society can provide. The Committee of Blind Women believes that such awareness-raising initiatives can contribute to implementing the Law on Pre-university Education, which gives every child the right to attend public schools and receive basic education.
In the future, the Committee plans to advocate for the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology to use this as an example for installing similar Braille tables in other primary schools throughout Kosovo.