VODACOM Lesotho Foundation (VLF) has donated special mobile phone tablets worth M212 000 to a centre for children living with various forms of intellectual disabilities in Butha Buthe.
The equipment will assist children at Thuso E tla Tsoa Kae Centre to communicate effectively and access information digitally. The devices are fitted with a unique application called Switch, Go Talk which enables students who cannot speak.
The centre looks after students with conditions such as autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome and communication disorder.
VLF also sponsored training for teachers at the school to enable them to teach the students how to use the devices.
Speaking at a recent handover ceremony, executive head – legal, regulatory and external affairs, Tšepo Ntaopane, said they raised M127 314 from the Global Wellness Challenge 2022 sponsored by Vodafone Foundation. The event brings together corporate organisations, families, educational institutions and individuals to raise funds for children with disabilities.
VLF chipped in with M84 644, he said.
Mr Ntaopane said in addition to the tablets, they would also provide the centre with internet services to the tune of M12 000 and solar heating systems worth M50 000.
Vodacom human resources manager, ‘Maliphethiso Mahanetsa, said she was happy that they managed to contribute towards the purchase of the devices.
Ms Mahanetsa also encouraged other companies to invest in education.
‘Makutloano Nnei, an official from the Education and Training ministry thanked VFL for the donation.
She said the devices would go a long way in assisting the students to deal with their disabilities and live better lives.
Thuso E Tla Tsoa Kae was established in 1985 to help children with disabilities pursue their studies.
Principal, ‘Mamonuku Mofilikoane, said the centre was fulfilling the dream of the founder, ‘Matsoakae Mphutlane, to ensure that disabled people had access to education.
The boarding centre has 91 learners aged from six and 18 years.
“We are happy to receive this equipment from VLF today. The gadgets will benefit children with communication disorders and also those who cannot communicate at all. The latter would be able to send recorded messages.”
Meanwhile, Ms Mofilikoane said the centre was facing a shortage of teachers.
“We only have six teachers for the 91 students, and it is unsustainable considering that students with autism need more attention.
“Ideally, one teacher should have only five students, but here we have between 10 to 14 students in each class. We also don’t have assistant teachers,” Ms Mofilikoane said.