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New Era Newspaper Friday July 28, 2017

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10 FEATURE Friday, July 28 2017 | NEW ERA Assimilating knowledge despite visual disability Alvine Kapitako Windhoek bias makes sure there are no objects on the floor. “I know where I have swept and where I have not swept because I start from one end of the room to the other. I know I have swept clean if I can’t feel grains of sand on the floor,” the free spirited Tobias says. His room is so organized that he also knows where to find the food he wants to prepare. “This is rice, this is salt, this is macaroni,” he says, touching on the food packets. When cooking Tobias relies on his hands and a spoon to check the remaining content, and taste, to tell when the food is ready. He does it with so much ease, he says, adding that he does not need anybody to be present when he has to cook. When choosing what clothes to wear or even buy, Mema and Tobias depend on their hands to feel the texture. “I am wearing a black and white dress with a scarf. When I am buying clothes I just feel and then ask for the colour of the clothes,” says Mema. Tobias and Mema chose to study at Unam because they believe they have a contribution to make in education. “I want to work just like other people,” said Mema, who is a third year student, when asked why she decided to pursue a career in education. Challenges “We have to work extra hard due to the lack of materials. We are not exposed to information like other students, so we have to find [other] ways [of accessing extra learning material] to pass. But this requires Resourceful… Moses Tobias does not need assistance to prepare a meal. persistence and confidence,” adds Tobias. However, he feels that much remains to be done in order for people with disabilities to be completely catered for in the education system. In addition, the two feel that some lecturers do not understand the needs of students with special needs. When this happens they depend on their friends for additional assistance. However, there are also lecturers who go the extra mile for them, Tobias and Mema said. “The challenge I face is not getting my materials on time because they have to be brailed. It makes me work too hard,” said Meme who was typing an assignment. Braille is a form of written language for blind people, in which characters are represented by patterns of raised dots that are felt with the fingertips. Despite the challenges, the two expressed gratitude that students with disabilities are accorded the opportunity to study at the university. Meanwhile, the assistant coordinator of the Disability Unit, Sara Moshana, said the university’s academic and administrative staff have built on experiences on the challenges of providing services to students with disabilities. Photos: Emmency Nuukala On her own… Dominga Mema doing her assignment at Unam. Reaching out… Moses Tobias and his friend Tuhafeni Kalola Unam has seen an increase in the student intake of people with disabilities. This year 81 students with disabilities are studying at the institution of higher learning. The Faculty of Education has the highest number with 24 students having disabilities. The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences has 20 students, the Faculty of Law has 10 students and the Faculty of Science has five students. The Faculty of Health Sciences has two students, the Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Science People with disabilities often depend on others to make their everyday life a bit easier. This is not so much the case for 23-year-old Moses Tobias and his peer Dominga Mema, who are education students at the University of Namibia. Tobias and Mema both lost their sight at a young age and are both majoring in languages. “We try to live on our own. We try to not be too dependent on other people,” said Tobias. The two do at times get help from their friends to assist them walk to the classrooms and make their way around the campus. But they do not want to be too dependent – they have learnt to do as much as possible for themselves. Tobias and Mema live on their own in the hostel. Often times they do assignments on their own, prepare their own food, they know where the bathroom is and do their laundry. New Era visited Tobias in his room, where he opened up about his life. Mema was in the resource centre of the Disability Unit, where she was preparing to do an assignment. Apart from education, Tobias is an avid runner who participated in the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro last year. Tobias is an aspiring musician, who has released a music album titled ‘Sondre’. “Like I said we try not to depend on people so we study our environment in order to do things for ourselves,” said Tobias while sweeping the floor in his room. Before sweeping the room, Tohas five students and the Centre for Open, Distance and E-learning has eight students with disabilities. “Even though much is done in this respect, room for improvement and implementation still remains,” said Moshana. She added that some students do not reveal their disability when applying for admission. “Students do this to avoid labelling or stigmatisation, but these students fail to realise that with the support and assistance from the university, it becomes easy to direct their academic activities on campus,” said Moshana. Also, the lack of awareness among staff members could be a challenge. That is, some lecturers lack the responsiveness and the understanding of the necessary support needed by students with disabilities, she added. The students’ challenges differ with the type of disability, said Moshana. For visually impaired students, a lecturer would require extra time to mark the student’s script, explained Moshana. “This is because the scripts would have to be de-brailed (the process of translating Braille back to print), by specialised staff members at the Disability Unit, before a lecturer is able to mark the script. Such a process is not applicable to abled students,” she said. Independent… Moses Tobias sweeping his room.

Friday, July 14 20 13 ADVERT Toivo Ndjeb Africa Rising: the change that shol haen A business leader and gender rights advocate, Namibia First Lady Monica Geingos is focused on bridging economic and social divides across her country. Amid unprecedented growth and a youth boom, [she] underscores the importance of effective leadership and collaboration as the continent looks to the future. Earlier this year, the Bush Institute’s Natalie Gonnella-Platts and Brittney Bain interviewed Geingos in her office in Windhoek. my adolescent years, the first thing they say to me is “Wow, that’s exactly what I’m going through now.” The minute they realise their experience is very typical of their age, they become more receptive to different views and solutions. Many of the young people we work with come from low-income households. In addition to normal teenage problems, like low selfesteem, there are very real challenges, like every-day hunger and walking long distances to school. They live in a society where there’s a high level of gender-based violence, and many of them have experienced it both directly and indirectly. Life is tough as an adolescent and as an adult, as well. You need of hope. If you have a lot of young people in your country who have no hope, who feel they have nothing to lose, they’ve got two options: To escape your country and try and look for brighter lights, which they see overseas, and that becomes your problem. Or they have the option of simply not caring whether the societies they live in are peaceful, and potentially driving social conict because of their frustration. The only way you can curtail those outcomes is to translate their hope into domestic opportunity. And that’s really the crux of what we’re trying to do through the One Economy Foundation. If you want to look for better opportunity because it’s available somewhere outcomes that our people expect. The push factor may be a society generally that is less tolerant of wastefulness, of corruption, of inefficiency. There’s a much bigger awareness in new leaders. For example, in Namibia we’ve had three presidents, and with each new administration there’s a new realisation that we can do this differently. New attitudes of accepting new ways of doing things is driving a lot of change. With my husband, for instance, the first thing he did when he came in as president was to declare his assets. He declared the full details of his assets, how many bank accounts he had, what was in it, how much cattle he has, what his debt obligations are, whether it’s in relation to mortgages, car payments, whatever it is, he disclosed everything. He also disclosed his health status. And then he disclosed my assets as well, in the same detail he disclosed his own. The reason he did that, and he’s under no legal obligation to do so, and definitely am not, was to manage stereotypes Q: How has your personal orne inence your work to empower on eole an brie economic iies SME in amibia Bank: Robbing Peter to pay P A: My personal and to look past your challenges else, and you have the skills, that have been perpetuated of professional journeys were and focus on how you’re going to remove yourself from irst a onica einos push factor is really “I’ve got example to other political lead- that’s no problem. But if the African leaders and to set an a bit of a trip, hop, and a skip. [I] started very Namibian young negative Financial situations. and get the right people to run it – no other choice,” then it is a ers in the country. Zimbabweans. The only way Wh and, if I look back at some Institutions Union thin we (Nafinu) inuence because each it empowered, can be profitable. men have to be forces humility, where you much bigger problem than a we can manage resource stereotypes manager is of the risks I faced, I would general-secretary other. Asnath disempowered. must say to yourself, “If we domestic issue. to be accountable, do with to the be disappe transparent, and Government we must accept simp never have embarked Zamuee on that discusses with Toivo TN: Are you That’s then a saying fundamental that are discussing this at board Developed countries are route. Sometimes Ndjebela it’s good her fight to hat avoid has job srrise government misunderstanding did not exhaust and all that’s level, and a member doesn’t seeing that consequence. that somebody’s They going are the to majo ask to not know certain losses risks. at the It embattled o most SME abot Bank. or avenues role why before my approach arriving is at not the from understand this, how will We’ve got young people a question. We yet live allowed in a society all strat makes you braver She than also you reiterated as calls first for la criminal decision to the shut angle down of women’s the bank? leadership. have It’s not. more Government, from the per- on the group?” escape the continent and that demands answers, and as this solution be understood leaving on boats, trying to that demands be occupied transparency, by for otherwise would charges have been. to be brought A: against What has those surprised AZ: me They hat has inuenced responsible me a lot. for the is how alleged complex looting it at can be. in You our view, spective wants of to inclusivity. get rid of You that is a reection not only leaders we must TN: be Media prepared report to There’s a lot of the opportunity in what we fear. bank, which is are owned in a 65 constant percent balancing the Zimbabweans. cannot exclude The technical half of your Q: What larger challenes o o see across on us, but also on the way give those answers. suggested that yo by the o find Namibian act government, in terms of what in you agreement can population, or a significant that gave birth to the that the global world order at Job Muniaro opportunity, find the ris, but do and say. It is not just dealing with the interpretation of to perform at capacity. You a critical time or rica eamle inencin others part of that half, and expect the continent h is now is structured. o o see amibias partnership with minority private bank gives too much power to the secretary-genera also see what can be done investors from Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans and the easy way out supporting the within the risk. the media, the government, cannot exclude half of your A: This is an important discussion because all the rest o the worl to now it is difficult hat wol o want A: We are succeeding, but hat approach has inuenced my decision and the private sector. It of also that arrangement brains, half is to of close your down talent, bank. to claim credit Toivo to found Ndjebela is dealing (TN): with You how led your the own bank – half and maybe of your start friends all over – it societies are dealing with abot amibia for it as Namibia. AZ: Muniaro There simp is a the One Economy a demonstration Foundation. Sometimes on you Tuesday. have What hat were is surprising your as much first power have in to your rectify own it. country? that went through colonial- doesn’t know Namibia is ability. The you African are a trade Union un views at SME evolve. Bank again. How doesn’t can foreigners make sense. have And so you inequality. For a society A: The fact that the world continental said view the on bank account- must to deal with hard demands? issues, lady is that I have a better And un-noderstanding (AZ): The aim of was how govern- own [Namibian] h citizens has who inclsi- are countries, these govern- things the right way. If there What they after are saying the interest around of they are sacrificing their ism, and that’s most African exactly because we’re doing deserves some primary credit, responsib as well. not just the soft Asnath ones. You Zamuee have to say things to give that our not petition ment to works, the minister and what I see employed is it there. been What imortant is sad is to ments inherited entrenched was war, conict, and all governance, statement human was rights, high everybody will [of appreciate. industrialisation, a much more trade orderly and process that they are o protecting either as people first la who or inequality. kinds of bad things, the world managing inequality, because closing inclusiv-ity, women’s would empowerment, mean these But you’re not going SME to make development], than what in which I saw we when I created was the through mess. your role as the Without focused interventions, you simply are no problem with Namibia health outcomes, become jobless. etcetera, would know about us. I have any change as requested a leader if that employees in the private must sector. not ecial ocate you’re not willing be to left spend jobless and that Often alternatives from the outside TN: How or omen do you an suggest olescent not going to change it. You being unknown, because it is exactly He what doesn’t Namibia eve is social capital. must be looked at. looking We expressed in, you our look government at a irls deals with those can reduce poverty but the means things are working. saying. alternative, but wh Risk-taking early dismay in my at government’s decision and decision say, “That’s responsible A: for When that ‘mess’? we speak about personal and professional to close down the crazy, bank. how They did did they come AZ: We integrating feel that when the first you’re and a the inequality stays the same or gets worse. To the extent that But if there is something I could share, it is that there The leaders me most are starting is that he to inuence one us [Nafinu] another, , and wh life has inuenced not a oppose lot of the application to this?” But to I’ve shut started board to member second you economies, have specific it’s never inequality is reduced, it’s Asnath are Zamuee countries that are doing that’s allowing involved us in to the start m the calculated risks down I the take bank, yet gain they a deeper are the level main of respect responsibilities going to be ensure a clinical, that the clean a very nominal level. And exceptionally well through looking at should an African have model done w now in my adult shareholder. life. It was and pretty understanding clear they for institution the process. is properly It is run. going When to be TN: the ineuality What messages that you find are their have own to conviction pay the price and and it’s of leadership. not and The whatever African way we s were going to close complexity down because of government money disappears messy. And in the it’s manner going to it be your in Africa members is quite getting extreme. from when fair. they Our get members external will aid only of accept dealing been with his one position. anotherH Q: Africa has the the bank largest youth population in the ents to people who have of to the Company first economy Act, such want people to dictate and ethnic, future religious, at the bank? cultural, or growth. doesn’t and have the money. complexity it pres- did, it’s gross messier negligence. if people In from terms the management It is normally in terms structured of their on jobs that being translates jobless into if positive those responsible is different the from mandate. the Western went There to jail. are countries way. 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They did liquidators That on fault Thursday line is [yesterday]. dangerous. as they can and the foreign to corporate TN: What is your view of the the governance Bank of Nam as through your work propose in the that it continues that you need to exist? to overcome not take their You duties have seriously. to approach The We’ll hear The what day the that liquidators something have assistance that comes on top we understand ACC’s deafening silence on the protect it, and depositor as our fice o the irst a to be effective. the issue from the ground erupts, it becomes more than of that really does translate AZ: Our position is that government money disappeared on their watch. to say. societies understand matter? AZ: What it. they an the ne conom level. That’s what we’ve just an inequality issue. It into effective outcomes. As much as we respect should assist the bank, just like they AZ: We’re not surprised at all. It’s a regulatory point of onation h oes womens managed to do by including becomes actual strife. It Namibia is one of those that you in the West have do with Air Namibia, NBC and other TN: Do you feel that nonmanagement TN: How is the mood among your pity because they should have been There are certain A: nuence is happening leaershi matter individuals from a variety becomes actual conict, and countries. We’re a great your way of doing things, both ways. Young public people enterprises. Any A: One developing thing we see is of backgrounds employees on are the the One members? trying to rebuild anything example leading of what the investigations a collaboration It’s looks a lot like. of Both money parties involved. different To way into we this. need some banking respect institution for the influenced me country to rethink needs this a very kind subtle of bank. pushback It sacrificial on Economy lambs Foundation in this whole board, AZ: in They the absence are very of frustrated peace is and with. that An we insolvent do and some of my perceptions has not fulfilled its women’s mandate, because empowerment web? for example. They add value, angry. almost They impossible. feel they are innocent. can simply see the keep results quiet of is one unacceptable. understand allowed. things, But all with what and how we should it had package the wrong from guys. men. When It’s you possible AZ: that Our perspectives, members are and not you part can To make This matte is an worse, urgent we challenge given to Africa’s the situation high at There’s TN: Why a much are bigger Zimbabweans accountable, they transparent, gave employ and alerted another’s participation. the same outcome they took of ensuring over the solutions for young have people. foreigners is at because the top, of they way of the management. bounce ideas The off whole them. Their of government And do believe will inuence not look after issue your has interests. been shaped; Exco that (executive presence also committee) has a psychological inuence. comprised t almost of [former comes SME down Bank to board the basics chairman deliver are the Namibians social economic too working at get – the Bush bank Institute back o the youth bank. In population. 2014, we went And to it see sense targeted of urgency for blame now to when effective there leadership. They said their inv them. When I tell They’ll them about give money in order to their for a own woman to was be essentially people – and this is exactly what has Zimbabweans. Our members have Frans] Kapofi to tell him that things no jobs would be lo

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New Era Newspaper Vol 22 No 167