COM- Mahlodi Uwane
Mahlodi Uwane is a single mother to a two-year-old little girl and resides in Lusaka, an informal settlement located in Mamelodi, Pretoria North.
Mahlodi lost her vision four years ago. “I stopped interacting with people and I relied on my family to help raise my daughter,” she says. Visual impairment can impact one’s life, causing the individual to shy away from crowds and/or confine themselves to familiar environments. This was the case with Mahlodi. She became very dependent on her mother and siblings to assist her with daily tasks.
On an ordinary Sunday, Mahlodi’s life changed forever. Mahlodi met Mpho, a social worker employed by Retina SA, at her church. Mpho informed Mahlodi about the services offered by the College of Orientation & Mobility (COM), a department of S A Guide-Dogs Association for the Blind. Mahlodi reached out to our Association and we were thrilled to offer her assistance.
At the beginning of October 2018, Florence, one of our dedicated Orientation & Mobility (O&M) Practioners began training with Mahlodi. Over the course of the three months of training, Mahlodi learnt how to use a white cane and how to navigate the dirt roads of her immediate environment. Mahlodi’s dearest wish was to be able to walk to church every Sunday, as none of her family would take her. This meant walking down a steep pathway with her daughter on her back. Florence and Mahlodi trained this route twice a week in the heat of summer, until success was achieved. Florence also taught Mahlodi what is referred to as “skills of daily living”. These are general skills that enable our clients to safely prepare meals, hot beverages and other activities that fall within the scope of being an independent person. Mahlodi’s confidence grew as she became more independent and she was ready to take on the world.
“I am very grateful for the services offered by COM. Without the life changing services offered by the College, I would not be where I am today. I really thought that my life was over once I had lost my vision. Thanks to Florence, I am able to enter the world with more confidence and I can make something of myself.”
If you’d like to contribute towards COM or if you would like more information about the services offered, follow the link below.