UR-Huye: The progress of visually impaired education


The visually impaired students at University of  Rwanda,  Huye campus are thrilled by the special treatment they get from this institution.

During past years, people with disabilities in Rwanda have been characterized wrong and were not given the same rights as others where some people have been calling them derogatory names and their education was still very poor. Currently, UR-Huye Campus students who are visually impaired are happy with the progress made in the education of people with disabilities in general.

The Special resource room, special computers, special hostels, special paths and digital textbooks (braille notes) are all constructive help they indulge in. The campus has a resource room for visually impaired students which they use for learning activities. The Braille Method officer at UR-Huye Campus Mrs. Joyeuse Abimana says the room is used for typing, translating and printing notes for visually impaired students.

“This room is used by visually impaired students who have no computer skills. They send us notes via email and immediately translate them into Braille notes. And they use Perkins Braille Machines which facilitates them to type efficiently”, She Says.

The visually impaired students have favorable paths which make their campus commutable without the need of other help. Most visually impaired students travel the campus alone astonishing many onlooker students.

Appolinaire Ndayizigiye, a visually impaired student from  Arts and Publishing Department relieves the students who sympathize them.

“We live a special life because of our visual disability. Many students sympathize us but they neglect the fact that a visually impaired person can perform extraordinary things which some people cannot believe. We can commute the campus without anyone to guide us”, He says.

The visually impaired students are facilitated to participate in inter-campuses and national competitions. They claim that visual disability cannot impede them from participating in the organized competitions.

“We play like the others. We even participate in national disability competitions organized by National Union of Disability Organization in Rwanda (NUDOR). Campus administrators provide us needed materials in order to participate”,  said by Marceline Mukangenzi, a visually impaired student  and Minister of Disability in URSU-Huye Campus.

The vastness of Huye campus is a challenge to the visually impaired students because of the scattered colleges. Every college of Huye Campus has its own location, and some colleges are far away from visually impaired students’ hostels.

Aphrodis Shumbusho, a student from  Development Studies Department  expresses his grief saying that it is very difficult for him to reach there since there is no person who accompanies him.

“We are frustrated when we have classes at Ex-Rectorat because we are supposed to cross roads. And we do not have roommates who can help us to reach there”, He says.

However, Mrs. Abimana insists that there is no student who reported the issue of attending classes far away without anybody to guide him/her.

“We teach new visually impaired students their rights during induction week. There is no way a visually impaired student can live without a person to help him/her. We help them in their daily activities. Maybe they did not attend induction week that is why they do not know their rights. No single student has ever reported that issue,” She remarks.

The other challenge for visually impaired students at Huye campus is the old building known as ‘Bâtiment Centrale’ which does not have paths and toilets for visually impaired students. Mrs. Abimana says she is going to report that issue to the Huye Campus administration.

By Yunusu Dukorerimana