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Akropong School for the Blind was established in 1945 with four pupils. Currently, the student population stands at 370 and a staff of 95 teaching and non-teaching staff.

One of the biggest challenges confronting the school is the absence of a modem library, which is adversely affecting academic work in the school. In line with its vision to provide academic excellence, the school has embarked upon a campaign to raise funds for the construction of this facility.

A modern library will provide several advantages. First of all, it will encourage the students to develop the habit of reading and. research.

This will enhance their vocabulary and spelling skills. It will also create opportunities to do effective research, thereby making them more resourceful in their lesson delivery. Moreover, it is envisaged that completion of the library would not serve the school only, but the community as a whole. As a nation, we have a long way to go in providing learning facilities for our blind citizens.

There are only two institutions in the whole country (one at Akropong-Akuapem and the other in Wa) that are solely dedicated to providing for the educational needs of the blind. The sad thing is that the institutions provide, however, academic work only to the level of junior secondary school.

In a situation where we have only a handful of high schools and colleges in the. country that are resourced to accommodate blind students who aspire to seek education at higher levels, it becomes a must or Ghana as nation to resource these two schools to the appropriate level.

It is prudent at this stage to contemplate fully dedicated high schools and tertiary institutions that would meet the needs of our visually impaired citizens. After 64 years, Akropong School for the Blind is mature enough and merits consideration for upgrade all the way to a tertiary level.

In anticipation of that eventuality, and while fully catering for the current needs of our visually impaired students, we have to support the construction of a library facility for Akropong and Wa schools and a library facility that is uniquely suited for our visually impaired sons and• daughters. A typical modem library, unique to the needs. of' the blind, would have a reference section, an audio section and a brailing section (comprising embossers and specially equipped computers), reading rooms, and IT rooms, to cater for research and typing.

In view of the role the school fulfilled in the community in the past, the facility could be enlarged to also provide for the surrounding communities. The kind of facility we are talking about deserves adequate funding and would require the support of all and sundry to bring it to fruition. First of all, we are looking to the Government to play a significant role in the whole programme, recognising that it already has its hand full and would need time to organise its support for the project. We have embarked upon a plan to appeal to the good sense of the entire citizenry to jump on board.

The idea of building a modem library for the Akropong School for the Blind was mooted a couple of years ago when a group of Americans, led by Mr Mildred Crump, visited the school, Mildred Crump is the President of Newark. New Jersey City Council, She pledged to use her influence to mobilise funding from private citizens and philanthropists to support construction of the facility. Our American friends have started providing some support.

They have helped us to undertake the preliminary phase of the project, including sod cutting and the preparation of drawings and bill of quantities. The cost of the project is a hefty one, estimated to exceed GH˘400,000, which obviously would take more than a positive
gesture from a few foreign individual philanthropists. We have, therefore, seen the need to launch a fund-raising programme to harness contributions in Ghana.

Until we can demonstrate that we are prepared to champion the effort to cater for our own needs, it will be difficult to convince our international friends to actively participate in our development projects.

Thus, today, Thursday, October 29,2009, the school will be launching a fund-raising programme to mobilise support for the construction of a modem library' facility for this one of a kind school. The venue for the launch is the Teachers' Hall and the time is' 10 a.m. It is against this background that we invite individuals, corporate bodies, philanthropists, non-governmental organisations; and the Government to support this project so as to add value to the training of the blind.

We dare say that Ghana has reached the level of development where the concern for the less fortunate one receives optimal attention. We cannot continue to lend lukewarm support for our blind citizens. In this context, we expect all to lend their support, especially the corporate bodies to this worthy cause.
Source: Daily Graphic

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