Concerned citizens of Cape Town and the clergy of the Anglican Church meet to address the plight of blind Coloured children from poor families in Cape Town. These children were not eligible to attend the only Blind school in the country as a result of the apartheid policy. A Trustee Board is formed which becomes the Athlone School for the Blind Association. After vigorous lobbying and intensive fundraising, sufficient funds are raised to purchase property in Athlone on the Cape Flats. This becomes the first school for blind Coloured children.

On 7 May the Earl of Athlone, then Governor-General of the Cape, (after which the school is named) officially opens the school in the suburb of Athlone. Seven blind pupils are registered and admitted on the first day of school.

The school moves to larger premises in Faure to accommodate the growing number of blind pupils. By 1935 the enrollment has grown to 96 pupils.

After a devastating fire t the school in Faure, 11 members of staff and 133 pupils relocate to the present premises in Bellville-South. The Special Schools Act is amended making provision for blind children of different population groups to become the responsibility of the government. Dr Helen Keller, the famous deaf-blind pioneer visits the school on 20 March 1951.

The school celebrates its 60th anniversary with a teaching staff of 56 and an enrollment of 265 pupils. The school building has expanded to double its original size and boasts new workshops for vocational training, remedial teaching rooms, a multi-disciplinary medical block, school hall, gymnasium and a music centre.

The school is recognized as a leading educational, skills training and vocational institution for visually impaired and multiply handicapped young people. Committed staff continues to provide a stimulating and nurturing environment to enable the child to develop to his fullest potential despite his disability. The ultimate aim is to ensure that the child develops into an independent and fulfilled adult with a sense of self worth, who can take his rightful place in society.

The Athlone School for the Blind Association is a registered Non Governmental and Public Benefit Organisation which qualifies for Section 18A tax exempt status. As the founder of the school, the Association spearheads an intensive fundraising and donor development programme to assist the school to meet their educational and vocational objectives. The Association continues to be responsible for the upkeep, maintenance and upgrading of the school and residential care facilities.

Sponsor a Child


The education care and nurturance of our children is of the utmost importance. The cost of specialised education, the resources required and support services are expensive.

Your sponsorship can make a world of difference in the life of a blind or multiply disabled child. It will ensure that a child receives specialized education, residential and medical care, 3 meals a day, a school uniform and shoes. Your contribution will guarantee a child an equal chance towards a brighter future. This is all our children ask for a chance equal to that of the able-bodied child, so that they may have the chance to grow up with dignity and a sense of self worth.

R14 per day is the equivalent of 1.50 USD and equates to R5000 / 625 USD per year which covers the following costs for one child for one full year:
  • School fees & stationery
  • Hostel fees
  • School uniform & school shoes
  • 3 meals per day
  • Medical care