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League of Friends of the Blind est. 1932/3

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The League of Friends of the Blind (LOFOB) is a Non-Governmental Organisation which caters to the needs of blind and visually impaired individuals. Based in Grassy Park, Western Cape, we have been in operation since 1933 and have assisted in providing independence development services to thousands of individuals from all over South Africa and certain parts of the African continent.

Founding of LOFOB

1932

On 9 December a meeting took place in the Zuid Afrikaanse Gesticht Hall in Cape Town under the chairmanship of Mr S Reagon, M.P.C. The objective was to lay the foundation for the establishment of a League of Friends of the Blind as well as the drafting of a constitution.

1933

7 January, interim committee met in the A.P.O. Offices, Long Street, Cape Town, under the chairmanship of Mr I Jacobs and E Ramsdale as joint secretaries.

LOFOB is co-founded by Isaac Jacobs on 2 February.

18 April, the first public gathering took place.

9 June, meeting in Wynberg Town Hall.

Early on, the reason for establishing the League was the belief in the inherent right of all to an equal education.

The original purpose of establishing LOFOB was to raise funds for the Athlone School for the Blind.

Branches of LOFOB existed in the Cape Peninsula, Doornfontein, Johannesburg, Kimberley, Korsten, Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage, and Langa.

List of branches as of February 1974: Grassy Park, Hazendal (in Athlone), Kensington-Maitland, Lansdowne, Parkwood Estate, Retreat, Wynberg,

The total membership of the organisation was approximately 700.

1934

The League of Friends of the Blind held its first Annual General Meeting in the Vestry of English Church House, Cape Town, under the chairmanship of Mr. E. F. Doman

1946

LOFOB opens its first hostel accommodating 6 women in Plumstead. The women would later be required to move due to the group areas act.

1954

On 1 April, the Nerina Lodge Hostel accommodating 18 women opens in Grassy Park.

1975

On 15 February, LOFOB opens the Lions Holiday Home in Strandfontein.

1979

Philip Bam is elected as the General Secretary/Manager of LOFOB as one of only two staff members.

On behalf of LOFOB, Philip Bam attends a South African National Council for the Blind, Coloured Division meeting. In this meeting, he denounces the use of organisational divisions based on race. The SANCB subsequently accepts the proposal and racial divisions are eliminated throughout the organisation.

Philip Bam was eventually elected as the first vice president classified as ‘coloured’ to the South African National Council for the Blind.

1980

On 2 February a new hostel for 52 men opens in Grassy Park.

1982

LOFOB established its social work department.

1988

The Infant Stimulation and Development program for visually impaired preschool children was established.

The rehabilitation program was established.

The shift is made; "we are no longer dispensing charity. We are in the business of developing human potential."

1990

The new Independence Development centre opens on February 3rd

The present and future

Our present endeavours and future plans are all aimed at giving our clients the best as we
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