13 February 2024

TİKA Facilitates Life for the Visually Impaired in South Africa

Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) renovated the “Cane Basket Workshop” within the Cape Town Society for the Blind (CTSB), which implements projects for individuals with visual impairments, in order to improve the workshop’s technical capacity, and has provided necessary equipment support, enabling the society to sustain its activities.

Through a project carried out in cooperation with TİKA and the Cape Town Society for the Blind (CTSB), aimed at developing vocational training and skills of the visually impaired, ensuring humane working conditions and eliminating social inequality, the “Cane Workshop” operating within the society was renovated, and office chairs, work benches as well as storage cabinets were provided.

The Minister of Social Development in South Africa, Lindiwe Zulu; the Republic of Türkiye’s Ambassador to South Africa, Ayşegül Kandaş; Mandla Mandela’s wife, Rabia Mandela; Muslim Community leaders; CTSB staff and various media representatives attended the opening ceremony of the project.

During her speech at the opening ceremony, CTSB Director Jenepher Ibbotson expressed her gratitude to TİKA for providing the necessary support to CTSB, which has been operating for 95 years in the country, enabling the society to continue its projects for the visually impaired.

During her speech, Ambassador Kandaş stated that the projects implemented by TİKA in South Africa have been improving every year in terms of number, scope and quality, and the projects will have covered all nine regions by 2024. She also reminded that South Africa was one of the first countries to aid Türkiye during earthquakes, expressing her gratitude.

During her speech, Minister of Social Development Mrs. Lindiwe Zulu underlined that the egalitarian vision which was developed by South Africa during the fight against apartheid also includes disabled people. She also emphasized the importance of a vision of a country where differences such as religion, gender and disability coexist harmoniously, and where everyone can advance under equal conditions.Zulu thanked TİKA and the Turkish people for their contribution to this vision.

One of the project beneficiaries and a small business operator within CTSB, visually impaired Colin Willemse expressed his satisfaction with the renovation of the workshops, which were significantly worn out and no longer allowed them to work efficiently and healthily.Willemse also appreciated the materials provided, all with the contribution of TİKA.

The Minister of Social Development, Türkiye’s Ambassador, TİKA’s Coordinator and CTSB staff visited and inspected the workshop after the opening ceremony.

CTSB was founded in 1929 by a group of visually impaired women as the Cape Town Civilian Blind Society. The community, which initially offered only cane weaving workshops, eventually expanded to provide accommodation, health, education, and social development services for the visually impaired. Visually impaired individuals, operating as small business units, have been making and selling cane products created with bamboo sticks, and this is how the community has generated income since 1935.

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