Blind students graduate

2018-12-04 06:01
From left, are: Sandra Dreyer, Natasha Stephanie De Buys, Morne O’Connor, Carol Arendse, Marco Lee-Roy Hartse, Lizelle Van Wyk –De Wet, Tammy Le Grove Smith and Yoemna Bassier at the Cape Town Society for the Blind graduation ceremony in Salt River on Thursday 29 November. PHOTO: luvuyo mjekula

From left, are: Sandra Dreyer, Natasha Stephanie De Buys, Morne O’Connor, Carol Arendse, Marco Lee-Roy Hartse, Lizelle Van Wyk –De Wet, Tammy Le Grove Smith and Yoemna Bassier at the Cape Town Society for the Blind graduation ceremony in Salt River on Thursday 29 November. PHOTO: luvuyo mjekula

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The journey has just begun for 90 visually impaired Cape Town Society for the Blind (CTSB) students who graduated last week. This was the message from Lizelle van Wyk-De Wet, the society’s chief executive, at a graduation ceremony in Salt River on Thursday 29 November.

“Graduates, this is only the beginning, you’ve only taken the first important steps…there is still a lifetime of experiences and opportunities to learn and explore ahead of you,” said Van Wyk-De Wet.

The graduates had completed the following courses: Life Skills, Public Speaking, Start your Own Business, Job Readiness, Events Management, Office Administration, Skills of Daily Living, Orientation and Mobility, International Driving Licence, End User Computing, and Smart Digital Training.

The top achievers were Tammy Le Grove Smith with the Jannie Mouton Award for Top Student Achievement; Marco Lee-Roy Hartse with his Certificate for Congeniality; Carol Arendse with Certificate For Most Improved Tech Smart; Natasha Stephanie De Buys with Vodacom Award for Tech Smart and Sanele Mkangelwa with FEM Award for Most Improved Student.

The CTSB “uplifts blind and visually impaired people through education, access to assistive resources and career development programmes in an honest, ethical and caring environment”.

Apart from a training centre, the society also runs a coffee shop and a showroom containing a range of cane furniture and items, handcrafted by blind and visually impaired artisans at the centre.

Van Wyk-De Wet reminded the graduates of their goals.

“As you know, together we serve to empower blind people of all ages and all degrees of blindness – with affirmation of dignity, personal confidence, positive attitudes toward blindness, and related adjustment-to-blindness skills...

“We believe that through constructive and innovative adjustment to blindness training you will be enabled to live full and independent lives and fulfil your personal goals.”

The graduates were supported by family members, friends and received­ words of encouragement from experienced CTSB students Carol Arendse and Charles Martinus, as well as Lois Strachan in her keynote address­.

Members of the audience were entertained with musical performances by some of the graduates.Interview tips

In her speech, Van Wyk-De Wet provided job interview tips to graduates who will be seeking employment and assured them that several blind people are employed as social workers, attorneys, teachers and financial planners, while many others are successful incumbents as artists, politicians, pharmacists and doctors, to name a few.

An ecstatic Tammy Le Grove Smith, CTSB’s top achiever for 2018, said she plans to get involved in business next year.

Another graduate, Zukhanye Hlazo, is considering a move into
entrepreneurship in 2019.

Hlazo, who graduated in Smart Digital Training, explains that the course has enabled her to use a smartphone­.V See more photos on page 2.

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