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Nkeng Charles, Principal of the Blind and Handicapped School
In 1984 Felix Seta, a Christadelphian, opened a centre for the blind and handicapped young people of the North West Province of Cameroon. Felix himself was blind, having lost his sight as a child. The centre was on land given by the family and village council. There was no financial support from the government, and those attending the centre contributed what they could.
Sadly, Felix Seta died suddenly in March 1994 at the age of thirty-two. The Senior Divisional Officer for the North West, together with the village council, asked for our help, and the CBM and Christadelphian Meal-a-Day Fund agreed to support the centre for the sake of our members who would be gainfully employed, and also for those needing help.
Nkeng Charles, a member of our church in Edea, was asked if he would take on the responsibility of Principal - to which he agreed. In September 1996 Charles moved in with his family. He sought out the students, who had returned to their villages, and the school re-opened in October 1996.
There are 27 students, 9 of whom are blind, and the remainder physically handicapped to varying degrees. The students are trained in readiness to be integrated into their village communities with confidence after their three-year training. Those who are blind are trained in reading and writing in Braille, orientation, general education, general hygiene, animal husbandry, and farming, whilst the handicapped receive training in general education, craft work, animal husbandry, farming (if able to walk), and sports. With considerable land they are now producing vegetables and rearing animals such as sheep, goats, pigs, guinea pigs, ducks, and chickens.
All students receive Bible lessons at the beginning of each day. This is not forced upon them but all attend. Once they are able, they integrate with the local primary school so that they can be accustomed to being with people who are able look after themselves. Every Sunday all students attend the church about one mile from the school. Through Project Aid the school has been equipped with hand-powered tricycles and wheelchairs, to enable those unable to walk to get to the meeting room. In 1997, 5 of the students and one member of staff became members of the church.
The school is providing the handicapped and blind with an education and the dignity of not having to beg at the roadside. May it be that the day will soon come when "the eyes of the blind shall be opened,... then shall the lame man leap like a hart..." (Isaiah 35:5-6).
|"Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation." (Mark 16:15)|