Tuks FM hosted the first of what will become an annual event for Prinshof school for the visually impaired at the Pretoria Zoo last week. The “Hear the Sights” initiative offers Prinshof learners the opportunity to experience all the sights the zoo has to offer, using the spoken word, as well as audio and tactile aids.
Nineteen Tuks FM volunteers took 24 Grade 6 Prinshof learners, along with chaperones from the school, on an audio-tactile journey through the elephant, giraffe and monkey enclosures, before heading off to experience the snake centre and the aviary. The learners were also taken to the tiger, crocodile, rhino and gorilla enclosures. Along the way, Tuks FM volunteers explained in detail what they were seeing, while audio clips of the different animals were played to the learners. They were also given objects which resembled the way the animals feel.
In preparation for the excursion, Tuks FM volunteers visited the school. They were blindfolded and guided around the school premises, in a bid to help them see things from a visually impaired person’s perspective.
Mike Bower – Tuks FM’s Programme Manager – conceptualised, organised and led the initiative. “The work that the teachers and staff do at Prinshof is absolutely phenomenal. We are hoping to set up a long term relationship with them where we use our skills as broadcasters to give each of their learners an excursion that makes them feel special and connected to their city!”
Bower adds that Tuks FM’s presenters also learned something in the process. “As a radio presenter, a large part of what you do is tell stories. By perfecting that craft, we will not only be adding to our presenters’ skillset, and by extension, our listeners’ experience, but we will also benefit Prinshof learners by offering them a truly unique experience.”
Corlia van Heerden, an English teacher at Prinshof, said she was very thankful to Tuks FM and all those involved in making the day possible. “I really hope the learners experience all the different sounds and things that, because of their disability, they are often denied.”