Unlike many tuition centres around Gaborone, a University of Botswana graduate followed her passion and opened a learning centre for children with dyslexia upon completion of her studies.
Bonolo Gaba, who is the founder of Lowapi Study Centre also known as Differently Able, revealed that she developed the love for working with learners who have a learning disability when she majored in learning difficulties and disabilities.
Narrating her journey, Gaba explained that when she first opened her tuition centre in 2011; it was a general centre accommodating every learner and later transformed it into a learning centre that mainly focuses on students with learning disabilities.
“I have realised that locally, disability is usually referred to the physical one that can be seen like deafness, blindness and others ignoring the hidden disabilities like dyslexia who also need attention,” she said.
Gaba, a Bachelor of Education in Special Education graduate, said dyslexia is a learning disorder that involves difficulty in reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words.
“Unfortunately, dyslexia has and still is being misunderstood by quite a number of people, which then causes a fair share that is diagnosed with dyslexia to feel left out in the world and have very low self-esteem,”
According to Gaba, Lowapi Study Centre takes reading as a skill for life hence the need to treat every learner as an individual. She said every learner is given special attention and are taught differently. The centre, which is located in Extension 10, operates from 8am to 5pm.
“We develop our study plans differently for each one of our students because every child is different hence the need to plan for each student as an individual,” she explained.
In addition she said their teachers are trained for special needs and are tasked with challenging themselves to motivate learners and help them believe in themselves. She said this process of building self-esteem amongst their learners is important as mostly their parents have little hope and patience in them.
Gaba urged teachers and parents to avoid discriminating against and comparing children, as that tends to affect the child. She said most of them are called names such as dumb and dull. She advised on the importance of acknowledging that children are different hence the need to treat and educate them differently.