Father and visually impaired child smilingProgramme name: Thuto Le Pono Boswa (“Education is your right, your heritage”)
Dates: 2016-2023
Key partner: Thuto Le Pono Boswa Foundation
Visio contact: Jan Til, 


Who we serve

An estimated 110,500 people in Botswana, or 4.7% of the population, have either mild or severe vision impairment, according to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. Of these, 14,500 people, or 0.6%, are blind. Around 550 children and people under 15 years of age are blind. Blindness is slightly more common among women and girls (55%).

Visually impaired child wearing headphones sitting by cooking pot

What we do

  • We conduct teacher training, targeting special teachers and addressing specific subjects such as ICT and science. 
  • We provide intensive support to social workers so they are better equipped to reach out to visually impaired children and their families. 
  • We support activities to empower visually impaired people. For example, we support school clubs, provide assistive devices, and ensure that visually impaired people are included in village community and household chores. We support extracurricular activities organized by centres for visually impaired children.
  • We have helped the Botswana Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted to scale up its work to raise awareness in communities and via radio and TV. 
  • We help civil society to lobby at both district and national levels for affordable and accessible services for people with visual impairments. We are encouraged that Botswana has recently signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and is in the process of developing a Disability Act and disability policies.
 Visually impaired child helping mum wash the dishes


Where we work

Our work focuses on two districts: Kgatleng and North East. These are home to Botswana’s two specialist care facilities for visually impaired children: 
  • The Muchudi Resource Centre (near Gaborone, Kgatleng district) 
  • The Lephoi Centre for the Blind (near Francistown, North East district). 
Both centres are run by nongovernment organizations. They accommodate approximately 250 children, provide pre-school education, psychosocial support and social activities, and have ICT resource rooms. 

Visually impaired schoolchildren using a Perkins brailler

How we work

The Thuto Le Pono Boswa (“Education is your right, your heritage”) programme, now in its third phase, was established in 2016. Its aim is to contribute to “inclusion of partially sighted and blind children in society, at home, at school, and in their communities”. 
The programme has three main strategies:
  • Organizing empowering activities for visually impaired children and their caretakers. 
  • Assisting service providers in health, education and social welfare to provide better services to visually impaired children
  • Influencing the general public by providing information to raise awareness and create demand for better services and to lobby decision-makers to make these services affordable and accessible to all. 

Visually impaired child looking through a camera lens

The first phase of the programme (2016-18) had a strong national focus. It developed the capacity of government service providers, trained eye-health personnel to enhance national screening and assessment, identified eye-health issues in young children, and linked children with visual impairment to the national support system as early as possible. 

The second phase (2019-21) worked closely with the Botswana Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted and the Muchudi and Lephoi centres. It emphasized public awareness raising and direct support to visually impaired children. Covid-19 hampered many of the planned awareness-raising activities, so we put more focus on psychosocial support services.

Phase 3 (2022-24) has shifted the focus to Kgatleng and North East districts for higher impact. 

Our partners

  • The Thuto Le Pono Boswa Foundation, a small, nongovernment organization based in Gaborone, coordinates Visio International’s programme in Botswana. 
  • It collaborates closely with a number of key government and nongovernment stakeholders:
  • Ministry of Basic Education
  • Ministry of Health and Wellness
  • Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development
  • Office of the President (which coordinates disability initiatives in the country) 
  • Botswana Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted
  • Botswana Council of the Disabled
  • Muchudi Resource Centre
  • Lephoi Centre for the Blind
We also work closely with the media, which play an important role in transmitting messages and enhancing understanding about visual impairment in Botswana. 

Our impact

Since 2022, we have directly reached nearly 800 children with visual impairments. We have trained 44 visual impairment professionals and over 100 parents, and have reached over 700 people through community meetings. We have also reached far larger audiences nationwide via radio, TV and newspapers.

More information