The League Of Friends Of the Blind, an NGO based in Grassy Park, says it’s in the business of changing lives, changing what it means to be blind or visually impaired – and at the same time, laying firm foundations for children at their Early Childhood Development Centres.
The organization was started on the 2nd of February, in 1933. The co-founder was Isaac Jacobs, who became blind at the age of 17 and could not gain formal education as there was no such institution in his area. He then started a campaign, setting up support and basic services, for the blind and visually impaired.
Involved in the programme for almost 40 years is Philip Bam, a community leader from Grassy Park. Bam says LOFOB is about developing human potential – to see that people get their rightful place in society and is treated with dignity. Through rehabilitation, blind people are taught to be independent again.
According to statistics, 5 million people, over the age of 5 years – are visually impaired in South Africa. According to the department of health, 1 in 2 000 children are visually impaired.
At LOFOB, people who become blind are retrained. They are empowered with skills to help them on their new life journey.
Bam says a young man who was shot in a gang shootout and had a bullet lodged in his head, had become blind. He turned his life around, after joining LOFOB, and represented the country as a blind cricketer at the Blind Cricket World Cup. Today he teaches other blind people and is also furthering his studies.
The NGO also helps with cataract removal. He says one person who sells chicken and had to give up his business because of cataracts, was later, given a new lease on life, when his cataracts were removed. He was able to start up his chicken selling business again, because he could see again.
Thank you Philip Bam and everyone at The League Of Friends Of The Blind, for changing lives, giving new insight – and helping the blind get new vision.