Sight for the Blind

Date posted: Thursday 18 October 2018

Walking alongside our neighbors in the Iringa Diocese gives us the unique opportunity to make a difference in lives of individual students through scholarships. We can also improve the educational environment for an even greater number of students through our support of infrastructure projects.


Our current project is the multi-purpose room at Mtera Secondary School. Mtera is located in the Rift Valley north of Iringa town. The walls are up and the staff and students are helping with the work, which is overseen by an engineer. Students have been collecting stones for the floor and sand for cement. Our goal for this year is to raise $20,000 to roof the building.


Although it's a bit of a trek, a visit to Mtera is well worth it. One of the most moving experiences is visiting with the eleven students who have vision impairments. Mr. Tibery Mbossa, the second headmaster, says of these students, "Most schools won't accept them, but we see we are blessed to have them." Each student is paired with a sighted student who takes notes in class lectures and shares the notes with the visually impaired student. Some visually impaired students use braille typing machines to keep their own notes. During exams Mtera hires a special education teacher from Iringa to mark the exams taken in braille. In a country where many students with physical disabilities are unable to attend school, Mtera is providing a model for a better way.


Mr. Mbossa spoke with visitors to Mtera about another kind of blindness - that of poverty and lack of education. He told his story of growing up in a village where he had no hope of attending school because he didn't have enough money. His pastor spoke to the headmaster on his behalf and he was accepted on the condition that he would pay only what he could afford. After he completed Form Two, a sponsor paid his fees for Forms Three and Four.


His experience has caused him to become a strong advocate for programs that provide educational opportunities for students who might otherwise not be able to attend school. "Simply what I wanted to say is that what you are doing is very important. I know that life from before - that you will be like a blind man, you don't know the things you don't know, and you have nothing to do. So you pay the school fees, they come to school. They are nurtured here. When they come out they are grown up and they can depend upon themselves." Mr. Mbossa's entire story appears in a blog post here.


Working bega kwa bega, we see this project offering us the opportunity to help provide a better educational experience for all of the students at Mtera Secondary School. What a gift to be part of building a space where all students can gather for study and fellowship! To join in the effort, designate a portion of your 2019 pledge to 'Education Infrastructure' or email to transfer current funds on hand to the 'Mtera School Project.'





The Rev. Lynda Thompson

Chair of the BKB Scholarship and Education Committee