The Siloe Integrated Educational Centre for The Blind
The Siloe Integrated Educational Centre for the Blind is located at St Bernard’s Mission, 35 km south east of Polokwane in Limpopo province. The missionwas established in 1950 by Father Augustine, a Belgian Benedictine, who had long cherished a wish to build a school for the blind in the most northern province of South Africa, where poverty, blindness and eye-disease was rife.In 1951 the first three blind learners were admitted and the Siloe School for the Blind, the first school for African blind children in South Africa, was born.
In 1954 the Belgian Sisters of Charity started working at the Mission. Then in 2002 the Franciscan Sisters Servants of the Cross were invited to work at Siloe School for the blind.
It has been under their guidance and vision that the project started by Father Augustine has been expanded and transformed into an integrated educational centre for the blind.
Mission of the Siloe Integrated Educational Centre for the Blind
The Siloe Integrated Educational Centre for the Blind cares for about 162 children between the ages of 5 and 23. Some are orphans and many others are from poor families hailing mainly from Limpopo, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the North West Province.
The Centre aims to help the visually impaired to discover their own dignity and value and to bring out the best in themselves.Its Mission is to help the blind grow to be independent, successful and confident personalities who are able to identify their unique place in society through their gifts and special challenges, and to help them find suitable professions.
Currently the centre employs about 20 visually impaired adults, many of whom are ex pupils. 11 of these are employed at the Workshop for the Blind, four are teachers, while others work on the farm and in the hostel. The Siloe School for the Blind is the oldest such school for African children and some of the more famous ex- pupils are singer Steve Kekane and Judge Joseph Malatji, who serves on the South African Human Rights Commission.