The Pattaya Redemptorist School for the Blind is one of eleven schools for blind and visually impaired children in the Kingdom of Thailand. It was founded in 1986 by Father Ray, with the help of Mrs. Aurora Sribuapan, a social worker who is herself blind, and who is now head teacher of the school.
From classrooms comes the sound of drumming as children punch out answers in Braille. Music streams from the auditorium, while on the soccer court a game is in progress using a ball that has a bell inside which rattles as it rolls. Children are learning to swim in the pool, and the sound of children laughing as they learn to use a white cane; running before they can walk.
Lack of knowledge within the family can mean that a blind child does not reach their full potential and are treated similarly to mentally impaired children. The specialist teaching staff at the School for the Blind will encourage all students to study to the best of their ability.
At the school we teach our students subjects following the national curriculum, in grades from kindergarden up to grade 9. After grade 9 the student will then decide what they want to do in the future. They may want to go on to a vocational school, or leave to get a job, and several students have joined other schools to finish their education up to grade 12. Several students have gone on to study at university.
Students are taught how to use computers, on specially adapted machines which ‘talk’ to the students whenever they press a button on the keyboard.
We also teach students the skills that they will need to live as independent life as possible: learning to walk using a white cane, personal hygiene, cooking and gardening.
The students are encouraged to participate many sporting activities, tough each sport is specially adapted for the blind.
Goal ball is a game solely played by the blind, and consists of three players in each team. The aim is to get the ball past your opponents, if you do, then it is a goal.
Soccer is also played, as is table tennis and volleyball. In all these sports the ball has a small bell inside, making it easy for the players to locate the ball.
Music plays an important past of the daily schedule. The school has a marching band, contemporary rock group and a traditional Thai music group.
The Pattaya Redemptorist School for the Blind has educated over five hundred blind and visually impaired children since its opening. Graduating students have found employment and are now able to live an independent life.