Empowering the Blind Through Creativity in Cape Town

Intricate handcrafted light fittings | Courtesy of CTSB
Intricate handcrafted light fittings | Courtesy of CTSB | CTSB
Photo of Carina Claassens
7 February 2018

The Cape Town Society for the Blind is helping the blind and visually impaired to gain confidence and become independent by training them to create beautiful cane furniture. Through their hands-on methods, they’re changing lives one day at a time and what’s more, most of the products are for sale to the public.

By making use of a variety of resources, from career development programmes to public speaking, the society is able to arm the blind and visually impaired with the necessary skills to live an independent life. They are taught to have confidence in whatever they do, both in their personal lives and economically. One way that the society is helping the blind to gain this confidence is through cane furniture workshops, equipping them with the means to continue creating products to sell, long after the course has ended.

Each cane item is handmade with the utmost care | Courtesy of CTSB | CTSB

Creating artisanal cane furniture to boost confidence

The Cape Town Society for the Blind is teaching artisans to create beautiful, quality cane furniture. From baskets to chairs and even baby cribs, if you’re after a unique piece for your home, you need look no further. The society hosts small groups of students on a daily basis at their studio in Salt River, and those who master the craft then move on to the advanced level. After completion, students receive a certificate from the society that allows them to start a small business if they wish to do so.

Baskets created by the blind and visually impaired | Courtesy of CTSB

Products are sold online and from the society’s workshop, based in Salt River.

The blind barista

While visiting, make sure to grab a cuppa at the vibey coffee shop, Café 45, where delicious light meals and caffeine-filled drinks are served. Since its launch in April 2010, the café has proven to be extremely successful, owing much of this success to the talented blind barista working his magic behind the bar. The café creates opportunities for the blind and visually impaired to develop skills, enabling them to work in the hospitality industry. Stop by and get your fill of tasty breakfasts, toasted sandwiches, wraps, salads and of course, lots of coffee.

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