Visually impaired pupil defies the odds Emmanuel Ndlovu poses for a photo after scooping the overall best award among Form Twos at Solusi Adventist High School

Laurel Murangaridzirayi, [email protected]

DESPITE his visual impairment, Emmanuel Ndlovu, a Form Two pupil at Solusi Adventist High School is among the top performers.

He scooped four awards of excellence during the school’s speech and prize giving day last Thursday, demonstrating that disability is not inability and that embracing inclusive learning is ideal.

During the event, the best performing pupils in academic and extracurricular activities in all grades walked away with brand new laptops and tablets that were provided by various sponsor organisations. 

Emmanuel Ndlovu, who uses Braille to learn was named the best performer out of all the Form Two classes and the school authorities say this proves that availing equal opportunities for all could take this country far. 

“I feel that I am equal to others because being the best in the whole stream is incredible. Even though I have a disability I am able to do it and be equal to others,” said the lad.

He said he has resolved to turn his disability into opportunity by working hard and expanding his potential.

“It’s the situation that I am in that drives me to read and the school has become the key to success for me. I am not good in handy skills but when it comes to academic school work, I can work out my way-out,” said Emmanuel.

He said one of the challenges he faces is failure to get all the notes since he uses Braille to write and to compensate that he has created a chain of relationships to get the notes he would have skipped.

“Lack of resources is a problem I face. When teachers are dictating notes, it’s hard for me to be in the same pace as others. So, it becomes difficult to have all the information,” he said. 

“I have become friends with many people so that I am able to get the notes as they at times dictate for me or when they discuss I join them,” he said.

Emmanuel is convinced that the Government and development partner organisations could do more by chipping in to provide more resources to assist disabled learners.

“If possible, I need a recorder as that will help and the resource room that is specifically set for others like me with a few resources. 

“If possible, the Government should provide us with resources that can actually help us with machines like Braille embosser and Braille textbooks,” he said.

Special needs teacher at Solusi Adventist High School, Ms Sibonakele Zhou, said children with special needs are equal learners.

“These learners are not sick and they have the right to education. There is inclusive education here where they are considered as diverse learners,” she said. 

Solusi Adventist High School Special Needs teacher Ms Sibonakele Zhou receives a laptop for her tutorial commitment at the school. She poses for a picture with former headboy Mr Mayibongwe Maseko and former Solusi High pupil Mr Craig Ntuliki

“We treat each individual as unique learner and you don’t compare them but we treat them according to their talents and gifts.”

Ms Zhou said the biggest challenge  that learners with special need face is funding.

“They have challenges in terms of funding like Braille equipment, they don’t have Braille equipment like textbooks and we prefer to use recorders so that they listen,” she said.

Ms Zhou said Emmanuel’s challenge was compounded by the fact that he is an orphan and stays with his 85-year-old grandmother in Plumtree.

“So, it becomes a challenge for him because it’s hard for him to come to school, we end up collecting him and he comes to school via the school authorities request,” she said.

Former head boy for year 2020, Mr Mayibongwe Maseko urged the school to work hard and inspire more people like Emmanuel.

“I was here since 2015 and I got all the help that I need and this is the right school for your success to come, we should work hard to uphold the principles of the school. The biggest thing you should learn at an institution like this one is leadership qualities,” he said.

Former student at Solusi High School Craig Ntuliki

Another alumnus, Mr Craig Ntuliki said both current and former learners should market brand Solusi in every good way.

“We should be brand ambassadors of Solusi as this is a school that has nurtured many people who hold huge posts in various companies. We call upon everyone to market the school. We call upon all the big companies and executives to support Solusi High,” he said.

Deputy headmaster, Mr Pholani Ndlovu, expressed his gratitude to the sponsors and delegates who made the programme a success.

“We would like to thank all the sponsors who contributed to the success of this event such as FBC bank, Dingani, Ubuntu, Jacaranda and other stakeholders who helped us to put through, we are grateful,” he said. 

Mr Ndlovu said the school is prepared to support students with extracurricular activities if they do not succeed academically.

“If the learners are not able to succeed in the academic bracket, we have other skills that we teach them to earn success and become employers as we push industrialisation through various projects such as agriculture, the newly commissioned textile factory and other ongoing projects,” he said.

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