Hands-on at school for blind

Kiwanis Club of Poznan Koziolki Poznanskie in Poland dedicates time and money to help blind and partially-sighted children realize their futures.

Photos by Bartek Krupa

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Several students at the Institute for Blind Children in Owinska, Poland, gather around the piano, singing and swaying back and forth as their teacher belts out a tune. Their smiles say it all: They’re happy here.

Much of their school day is filled with projects and materials supplied to them by the Kiwanis Club of Poznan Koziolki Poznanskie, which has been working with the school since 1998. All the students at the school are blind or partially-sighted, between 6 and 23 years of age.

“Students usually come from very poor families who often are not able to pay for food, clothes, school equipment and books, or even medicines,” says President Anna Maldzis.

The club recently was awarded a grant from the Kiwanis International Foundation for US$4,250 to help pay for services and projects designed specially for the students at the school.

There are 165 students, 125 who stay at the school year-round, who study in the primary school, gymnasium, high school or vocational school. The children also have the opportunity to learn about music, sports, tourism and computers. Students at the vocational school are trained in three trades: basket making, upholstery and knitting.

The Kiwanis grant helps purchase food, clothing, medicine and glasses, in addition to sport and rehabilitation equipment. The club also sponsors students on a canoe trip, purchases Christmas gifts for the children and works closely with the student choir, “Dzieci Papy,” buying recording equipment and T-shirts to wear during performances.

“Our main reason to support the institute is to give a chance to all these students who need help,” Maldzis says.

“Education in this institute is the best way for them toward a better future.”

This photo feature originally appeared in print in the September 2013 issue of Kiwanis magazine.

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