About Us

We have come a long way!

We’re over 130 years old and still going strong. The following are major milestones on our historical calendar:

A decision taken by the Western Cape Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church in SA in 1880 led to the establishment of the Institute for the Blind and Deaf in Worcester. The School for the Blind was established in 1881 to attend to the needs of blind learners that were not catered for satisfactorily at the time by more mainstream academic institutions. The first learners were admitted on 15 June 1881. Since January 1905 deaf and blind learners have been educated separately.

A need for after school placement was identified in 1933, when three blind matriculants struggled to find gainful employment. Today, the Industries provide employment opportunities to over 160 visually impaired adults in six different factories. The name was formally changed to the Pioneer School for the visually impaired in 1981 to reflect the school’s growing educational capacity.

In October 1991 the Institute for the Blind appointed its own Board of Control.


Our Vision

Together we create a future for the visually impaired.

Our Mission

To empower persons who are blind, partially sighted or deafblind, including visually impaired persons with additional disabilities by means of education, training, development and care towards a fulfilled life and complete citizenship.

Accommodation, care and support

  • Provide accomodation and care to visually impaired persons and multi-disabled persons with visual disabilities in a supported working and living environment
  • Improve the quality of life of visually impaired, and other, older persons by providing full-time caring services within a home environment
  • Offer employment opportunities to visually impaired persons, as well as promoting independence through job placement

Fund raising

  • Generate funds through manufacturing and trading activities
  • Transparently generate funds according to the “Donor Bill of Rights”

Marketing and communication

  • Maintain and regularly manage an efficient marketing strategy
  • Maintain an effective communication system
  • Encourage community involvement
  • Promote liaison with relevant role-players
  • Initiate and participate in outreach programmes and supportive ventures related to visual impairments.

Human resource and general management

  • Promote training and development opportunities on a regular basis
  • Establish a contented working corps
  • Sensibly manage the process of transformation and change
  • Maintain an effective administrative and financial system
  • Effectively manage the Human Resource system
  • Maintain a dynamic and participatory management system
  • Effectively manage and maintain the Institute’s property
  • Continuously deliver quality products and services
  • Ensure optimal productivity in each department
  • Promote a culture of sentiment and ownership
  • Maintain an effective monitoring and evaluation system
  • Create a working environment that promotes productivity
  • Create a clean and safe working environment
  • Contribute financially towards the services that Pioneer School and Pioneer Printers provide to visually impaired persons.