The head of Govi School for the Blind has called on parents to send their visually impaired children to school to be able to realise their potentials.
Ali Sallah told The Standard that the condition of visual impairment should not reduce one into street begging.
“The role of the school is to reduce begging in The Gambia,” he said. “Parents should take their blind children to school rather than keep them home which will compel them to begging.
“There are challenges, but we are doing well with teaching visually impaired students. Being blind does not mean you can't learn. They can use Braille machine to learn.
“Most of our students graduated from Nusrat, Gambia High School, Muslim, which is a clear manifestation that they do well in school.”
Principal Sallah said the Govi School is tuition free as it was established as a charity supported by the government.
He added that food, transport and learning materials are also provided to the students free of charge.
He boasted of distinguished alumni such as Mamadi Kora, a professor at a University in California, US; and Muhammed Krubally, a magistrate at the Banjul Magistrates' Court.
Gaira Lamin is another product of the school. The young Gambian can't see but fixes machines like the Braille, fans and tape recorders.
He said learning was not difficult for him.
“People have five common senses,” he explained, “if you lose one, you can always explore the others and that's what we the blind do best.
“You are good when you see things, but we are also good when we touch and feel things. And that's how we work. As a technician, I rely solely on my touches.”
Lamin said he does the electric wiring of his house without the help of anybody.
Herself, visually impaired, Mariama Drammeh is a teacher at the school, and also the vice chairperson of the youth school at GOVI.
She said: “It is a misconception when people say such children should be left at home. No, they should be given the opportunity like any other child to have education.
“We were born blind but our parents did not just leave us at home. They took all necessary measures to get us educated and we are very useful today.”