Goal: R5,000.00 | Still Needed: R5,000.00 | Total Supporters So Far: 0 | Amount of People in Need: 80
When Sonwabo Somyali lost his sight at age 17, society failed him. Public school was no longer hospitable to him, and even the special school he was transferred to didn’t know how to properly cater to him and others like him.
So, a few years later he founded his own society.
Help the Blind and Partially Sighted Society (HEBPSO) is located in KwaNobuhle – a township in Uitenhage, Eastern Cape – and offers to all of the area’s blind residents what society couldn’t offer Sonwabo. At the centre, which is located in the township’s Community Development cluster, 80 beneficiaries who have difficulty seeing or cannot see at all are helped on their way to independence.
Here, they are taught Braille, given an introduction to computer literacy, and practice mobility together. For fun, the groups do handicrafts and sing together in their own choir. For those struggling to get by on grants, HEBPSO provides soup and bread as necessary.
Sonwabo is assisted by 9 other helpers, and together the team believes that not being able to see is just a hurdle to be overcome, and see no reason why their beneficiaries shouldn’t be able to find work and live fulfilled lives.
Those who make their way to the centre every day range in age from 14 to 76.
The team has received no aid from the government since the organization’s conception in 2010, and rely on what Sonwabo cheerfully calls “luck”, but are really donations that he works hard to acquire. Sonwabo and his helpers are currently only paid every six months, and this only through tireless fundraising efforts.
Sonwabo’s dream is to own land on which to develop HEBPSO’s initiatives. Alongside an extension of the existing centre, he would like to establish the first finishing school for the blind in the Eastern Cape.
Photographer: Shawn Marsh from Marshy Photography | Voice Artist: Usisipho Ngxubaza | Writer: Ané Breytenbach
Type of Cause:Development, Disability, Poverty Alleviation, Skills Development