Blind Kids Need Help To Keep Dorm-School

Northern Luzon School for the Visually Impaired is knocking on the hearts of donors to prevent the closure of their dorm-school.

The Northern Luzon School for the Visually Impaired (NLSVI) is knocking on the hearts of donors to prevent the closure of their dorm-school.

The residential school, formerly known as the Northern Luzon Association for the Blind located along Bokawkan Road here is facing closure due to funding problems.

“I don’t want to close the dorm-school, there are so many visually impaired children who need help,” said Dona Digna Rosario, executive director of NLSVI.

The school’s former facility on Marcos Highway used to have at least 60 stay-in visually impaired students being taught basic education and daily living skills.

But with budget dwindling through the years, the student population decreased to 16 and personnel is down to four — an office staff, two teachers for regular classes, and one special education teacher.

“There are so many visually impaired children all over the Philippines particularly Cordillera but our problem is we don’t have the staff anymore,” said Rosario who also serves as a driver, messenger, and secretary of the facility.

The school accommodates blind children from Kindergarten to Grade 4. Children with special needs stay longer.

The students, who are also provided board and lodging, are from far-flung communities whose families are incapable of providing their needs to make them self-reliant.

“We used to go to far-flung places to look for these [visually impaired] children pero hindi na namin kakayanin (but we are no longer capable). Wala nang isi-sweldo ang school (there is no more salary for a complete staff),” Rosario said.

Rosario said sponsorship from private benefactors are either insufficient or have ceased their support for the school.

She said perhaps because of the so-called donor’s fatigue, they no longer get enough of the public’s generosity unlike when the center was started 59 years ago.

“While we look forward to big donors, we will be happy if there are sponsors for the children so that they can continue being with us,” Rosario said.

The center is important to the children because it will prepare them for the real world, allowing them to be independent.

“Everything a sighted person can do, we teach to these children so that when they go home they can be independent, not dependent on their parents,” Rosario said.

The administration is stretching available resources, with the hope of sustaining the school without the need to close their doors to the visually impaired children.

Rosario said that parents of students have to shell out PHP500 monthly to support the expenses of the house parents in the dormitory which, while limited, can make do for the continued love and support for the visually impaired children. (JES/PNA)

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