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Zomba Action Project donates laptop to Special Needs student

May 31, 2016   Chanco Bulletin
Handing over the donated laptop
On the morning of 30th May, 2016, the college held a small function at the Special Needs Section, located on the ground floor of the college library, where a laptop computer was handed over to Mr Alinane Misomali, a second year visually impaired education student.

The laptop was donated by the Zomba Action Project (ZAP), which was represented by Mr Zondiwe Mbano, a lecturer in the Language and Communications Department, and Mr Tom Matande. Also present at the function were the College Vice Principal, Associate Professor Samson Sajidu, the College Registrar, Mrs Mary Wasiri, and the Dean of Students, Dr. Jonas Mwatseteza.

The Zomba Action Project is a group of volunteers that comprises people from Zomba, as well as some individuals from Northern Ireland. They run a number of charitable activities in Malawi, including the provision of bursaries for various students in secondary schools, as well as disbursement of scholarships for students at Chancellor College, Zomba Theological College, Mzuzu University, and Nasawa Technical College, among others. The group raises funds every year, which are channeled towards various areas of need in the education sector in Malawi. They also send materials, including computers and clothes.

During the function, the Vice Principal observed that the Zomba Action Project had proved themselves as true partners of the college. “Thank you very much for all the help you render to our students. We really appreciate the gesture, as these are friends indeed,” he said. “We don’t take the gesture for granted.” Upon receiving the laptop, Mr Misomali pledged to work hard, and expressed his wish that God would bless the donors abundantly.

Seen in the wider context of learning opportunities for special needs students, this donation has come at the right moment. For some time, the Special Needs section has been facing a number of problems. One of the main challenges currently faced by the students with special needs, particularly those with visual impairments, is the absence of reading materials. There are no books that have been embossed (converted into Braille). This is particularly a problem for students studying literature, who have to study lengthy novels and plays. In the rare event that the texts are embossed, students often get them late, weeks after their colleagues have read the texts. Instead, lecturers will sometimes give them handouts, which are easily converted into braille. Students often rely on their friends to read out book chapters and other texts for them, which is not always easily arranged, especially during the exam period, when everyone is preparing for exams.

The Special Needs Section houses a few talking computers used by the students. These computers, which were donated by Sight Savers International, assist the students in accessing handouts and material from the internet. The section also has a Braille embosser and a scanner. Most of the equipment was provided through donations from Strathclyde University in Scotland.

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