On the 20th March 2009, 24 students and one lecturer, dressed up as fantasy fairyland fairies embarked on a life changing adventure to brighten up the days of the blind and visually impaired learners at Prinshof School. Prinshof School for the Visually Impaired is a multi-cultural, dual-medium (Afrikaans and English) school situated in the Central Business District of Pretoria. Prinshof School consists of four departments ranging from children who are totally blind, to those who have partial sight.
After arriving at Prinshof many of the learners were extremely excited to see us. Due to the fact that many of the teachers had told the learners that we were coming, some of the learners exclaimed with remarks such as: ‘ I have been waiting all night for you to come!’ This warmed up all the fairies hearts and drew us into the learners more so that we were able to interact with them.
After telling the learners how fairy wings are made and giving them examples of different textures of wings to feel the learners were very excited to have their face’s painted. Even though many of these learners were totally blind, the experience of having make-up being put on their faces and being ‘transformed’ into different characters made a difference to their day, and could maybe even be one of their highlights of their lives. Allowing the learners to sit on the fairies laps, touch their wings and fairy faces allowed the learners to interact with the fairies on a deeper level.
Each of the learners received a balloon animal of some sort which some of the fairies and elves folded for them. The learners loved feeling the textures of the balloon and the different ways it had been folded. After a while some of the learners realized that one can pop balloons and they make a really loud noise which fascinated these learners and allowed for a new learning experience to occur.
It was a great honor to hand over money to the value of R950 to each of the departments at Prinshof School. This money will go to good use as many of the teachers have needs within their classrooms for specific items such as: new television sets, curtains, brail paper, baking materials and many more other items that we were unable to purchase as we did not have the necessary contacts to the specific stores. The teachers at the school were greatly appreciative of the money and were touched by the generosity of the University.
Each of the learners from the school received much love on the day and thoroughly enjoyed the experience with the fairies from fairyland. When leaving one of the little girls whispered to one of the fairies: ‘Please fairy come visit me in my dreams and sprinkle fairy dust over my bed…I promise I believe in fairies and I will think about you lots!’ A big difference was made in each of the learners at the school’s lives and each of the students thoroughly enjoyed the experience of giving back to the community.