The Grassy Park organisation received the national award for the best Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme at the National Development Agency’s (NDA) South African Early Childhood Development Awards at a gala event in December last year in Limpopo.
The award was for their work with children with disabilities in the field of blindness and early childhood development.
Benita Petersen, manager of Lofob’s Early Childhood Development programme, accepted the award.
She said it was an honour to be acknowledged for their work which impacts the lives of society’s most vulnerable members.
“We are indeed motivated by this achievement to continue striving towards excellence in our service of others,” said Ms Petersen.
The South African Early Childhood Development Awards take place annually to acknowledge the positive contributions of ECD programmes and practitioners across the country in improving the quality of lives and access to education for children.
The NDA received more than 3 900 applications from centres competing to be recognised for excellence, innovation, best practice and outstanding participation within the ECD sector.
The award comes at a significant time in the life of Lofob as they celebrate 85 years of service to blind and visually impaired people.
One of Lofob’s co- founders was the late Isaac Jacobs, a former resident of Grassy Park.
He had no formal education as he was denied access to the only school for the blind due to racial segregation.
It is this that drove him to fight for equality and access to education for blind people.
“This remains inherent in our culture and is evident in the various education support programmes on offer,” said Ms Petersen.
The Lofob’s ECD centre, which was started in the 1970s, encompasses a wide range of services to children with visual impairments and their parents across the Western Cape.
The programme includes infant stimulation provided in homes for babies, a daily preschool programme, parent support groups, and support to pupils in schools. A team of professional staff works with up to 60 children and parents every year to ensure the successful integration of children with visual impairments into society.