20/03/2002

Sight-impaired children complete cross-border project

Education minister Martin McGuinness has presented ten sight-impaired children involved in a cross-border project with personal computers.

Children involved in the Internet Project – organised by the Royal National Institute of the Blind NI (RNIB (NI)) – had been working closely with children from St Joseph's School in Dublin for over a year to develop proficiency in Internet and email use.

During a ceremony held at the RNIB's headquarters in Belfast, the Education Minister praised the participants for their efforts and presented each child with a personal computer.

Speaking at the presentation, Mr McGuinness said: “The partnership that resulted in this project is a fine example of what can be achieved when organisations and individuals pool their resources and expertise to provide our young people with the very best.”

Susan Reid, Director of RNIB Northern Ireland, said: “We have been delighted to have this opportunity to work closely with St Joseph’s in Dublin. It is evident that this project has not only enhanced the children’s computer skills, but through the interactive weekends, has added considerably to their social skills."

The Internet Project was jointly funded by the RNIB NI and by Co-operation Ireland. The participants of the project were children with sight problems aged between 9 and 16 years of age – with eight children from Dublin and 10 from Northern Ireland.

Schools which participated in the project were: Jordanstown School, Belfast; Glengormley Primary School, Belfast; Rathmore Grammar, Belfast; Integrated College, Dungannon; St Franchea’s Secondary, Enniskillen; Loughview Integrated Primary,Belfast; and St Joseph’s, Dublin.

RNIB is one of the UK’s biggest charities and it employs 22 people in the province providing direct and indirect services to the 24,000 people estimated to have severe sight problems in Northern Ireland.

The Internet Project was funded by the EU Peace and Reconciliation Fund and administered by Co-operation Ireland and the RNIB NI.

(GMcG)

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