Limpopo - Blind learners from Rivoni School for the Blind have blocked several roads leading to Elim Hospital to protest for better accommodation and classrooms.
The angry learners, who have been on the streets since Sunday night, have barricaded the roads with stones and other objects, while books are left scattered all over. They have vowed that they will not return back to classes until an actual plan of when the new classrooms and accommodation will be built.
Rivoni learners have been using mobile classrooms while waiting for proper classrooms promised by the provincial Department of Education in 2016.
“These people do not care about the kind of environment we are forced to attend under. We are forced to use these dilapidated mobile classrooms to call our school and dilapidated buildings as our homes. We do not even have proper blankets. Imagine almost everyone who attend school here have got specials needs,” said Fhedzisani Mudau, a Grade 11 learner.
The protesting learners have blocked the R578 and D3831 roads leading to Elim Hospital forcing locals to use other alternative roads.
“We are tired of empty promises from the Department of Education as for years we have been pleading with them to build us a school but all they do is to make promises which they do not keep hence we are now fed up. We will not halt the protest until we see trucks coming here with building materials,” said Mudau.
Arnold Baburi, a Grade 12 learner, said the toilets were broken and there was long grass next to the boys’ residence, bringing danger of snakes.
“It seems like the department does not care about our special needs despite the school having produced high performing learners in the country for the past years,” said Baburi. “We do not even have a proper place to stay but nothing is being done to address the situation.
“We are forced to be here because we need education and there is no other school we can go to but the condition here is not good for us and we have been protesting since 2016 for the department to do something about the conditions we are forced to attend under but years have come by and pass but nothing is being done”, said Baburi.
Provincial Department of Education spokesperson Sam Makondo said that the design of a new school to accommodate blind and partially blind learners had been finalised and the project will be going to tender soon. “We have engaged with the learners yesterday about the way forward,” he said.