THE Japanese Embassy in Zambia has handed over a learning centre for the visually and hearing impaired for special needs children to the congregation of the Immaculate Conception of Zambia (CIC) worth US$100,000
CIC started its social contribution work in Zambia in 1994 focusing on education, social and medical.
And since 1999, CIC has been providing special education for the visually and hearing impaired children in Ikelenge district in North-Western Province.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, Japanese ambassador to Zambia Kiyoshi Koinuma said very few pupils with special needs had access to formal education due to lack of facilities providing such services.
He said North-Western Province had only five basic schools which provided special education while there were over 3000 visually and hearing impaired children in the area.
He said the people of Japan have been supporting the economic and social development of Zambia since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1964.
“It is, therefore, our sincere hope that this project will benefit the people of Zambia while the bilateral relationship between Zambia and Japan will be further accentuated,” he said.
He said the grant assistance for human social programme was introduced in Zambia in 1990 with a primary objective of supporting the development and human social projects at grassroot level.
“Until now more than 150 projects have been funded and implemented in this country,” he said.
He also said Japan has been focusing mainly on the social welfare by improving the welfare of the people in sectors such as education and health.
And North-Western Province permanent secretary Ephraim Mateyo acknowledged Japan’s contribution to Zambia which he said was amazingly enormous.
Mr Mateyo said Japan had been and was an all-weather friend to Zambia.
He said the gesture by the Japanese government was in tandem with government’s plan of ensuring that equality and equity take centre stage in the education sector.
“This can only be attained by raising standards in the provision of special education in the country,” Mr Mateyo said.
He also encouraged other stakeholders to emulate what the Japanese government was doing, adding that Japan had set a pace that other stakeholders could follow.