The USAID and LCIF Children with Visual Impairments Project (CwVIP) is a five and a half years’ project that started in October 2014 and is implemented by the South East European University (SEEU), and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF).
The main objective of the CwVIP is to increase educational opportunities for children with visual impairments through literacy and access to education, and to detect and prevent eye diseases at an early stage. The project has an educational, medical and social component.
- 5 fully equipped and functioning resource centers in five cities in Macedonia (Skopje, Tetovo, Veles, Shtip, Bitola) where visually impaired children attend extra school classes. They are equipped with visual aids, didactic materials, digital magnifiers, Braille mechanical typewriters, and Braille printers/embossers, smart boards, swell touch fusers, other specialized input/output equipment such as Braille display and keyboard, course specific aids such as for math, arts, science, etc.
- 120 school textbook titles (complete elementary education curricula) have been adapted and printed in Braille from Macedonian and Albanian language. Additional 20 books (children’s novels) were adapted into Braille;
- 70 audio books accessible not only to visually impaired persons, but also to general audience..
- Continuous support and training for 36 special educators working at the Resource Centers. (Also training sessions include an additional 100+ special educators plus regular teachers from all around Macedonia from mainstream schools).
- Educational quiz of knowledge with over 5000 questions from the elementary school curriculum, also adapted for visually impaired children. Each player can play the quiz as single game, multiplayer, and online. Teachers have privileges to create their own quiz and share with their students.
- Inclusive sports activities at each resource center on monthly basis for mixed groups of children from both mainstream and specialized schools.
- Extracurricular inclusive activities at resource centers on weekly basis for CwVI.
The CwVIP partnered with the Association of Ophthalmologists, the University Eye Clinic in Skopje, the Private Hospital “Sistina Ophthalmology” and the Eye Clinics from the other cities in eye screening activities.
The project team of ophthalmologists, consists of 20 prominent ophthalmologists, who have been conducting eye screenings in kindergartens and some of the primary schools among 1st –3rd graders in Skopje, Kumanovo, Berovo, Veles, Shtip, Strumica, Bitola, Krushevo, Ohrid, Struga, Kichevo, Tetovo, Gostivar as well in the remote area for over 21.725 children 3-6 years old, or in average 3 screening activities per week since 2015.
The Project also does targeted presentations for parents and distribution of leaflets of Lions Eye Health Program – LEHP, supporting the extracurricilar activites, as well organizing events for raising public awareness about the challenges that visually impaired persons face.
The project has set up a Support center for the visually impaired persons in Skopje, in cooperation with the City Red Cross of Skopje. It primarily focuses on various activities and skills sessions, such as: Adapted European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) course, Basic and Advanced English, swimming, regular psychological counseling, hiking, cooking, socializing, information sharing and advice for inclusion and utilization of the system of social and health care in Macedonia, mobility assistance and transportation, career and skills development for work readiness of blind and visually impaired. Training and support sessions are held on daily basis (full time).
For more information about USAID Activities in Macedonia please visit: