OMASA Conference

The first OMASA Mini-Conference, which was originally aimed at being a team-builder, took place between the 11TH – the 13TH of November 2022 at Innovation for the Blind, Worcester.  An effort to meet and get to know the Orientation and Mobility practitioners that we liaise with weekly.  I am grateful that this effort eventually materialised into a Mini-Conference.

I am fortunate to receive the necessary support from my employee, Innovation for the Blind, and I have often wondered if other practitioners are as fortunate as me in that sense.

I am grateful that the planning between myself and the OMASA management produced successful results.  I would like to compliment Wendy and Gugu on their exceptional contribution.  We spoke daily and their indispensable input was instrumental to the success of the event. 

It was important to have Orientation and Mobility Practitioners as part of the programme to share their knowledge and expertise with delegates in the same field.

The programme was insightful, compelling, and superbly executed and included the following:

Friday Evening, 11 November 2022

The conference commenced with a short welcoming programme.

Stephne Botha, Innovation for the Blind CEO, welcomed all the delegates present and proposed a toast to all who made an impact in the field of Orientation and Mobility. Jeremy Opperman spoke about the history St Dunstan’s and Moira Higgerty received a certificate in recognition of her dedication to the field of Orientation and Mobility.

Delegates were then invited to enjoy a social braai, with the opportunity to network and put a face to the different voices. 

Saturday, 12 November 2022 

The history of the white cane was presented by Sharon Goosen. Omphemetse Mangwekea from SANCB reflected on how far Orientation and Mobility work has come and where we currently stand. Wilemien Kleijn spoke about O&M Qualifications and the way forward

Moira Higgerty discussed the legal framework, the registration with the OT board, the process, and the implications for all the qualified O and M`s after registration

Accommodation of learners with visual impairments in the classroom, the best practice and briefly touch on the Department of Basic Education regarding policies and the available support was discussed by Clare Hubbard

The panel had the opportunity to discuss: 

Advocacy for patients

How to be effective

How to manage gatekeepers to services, change and support

Proposed solutions


Tracey Joubert did a presentation on Starting early with Orientation and Mobility - good foundations for the very young and developing purposeful movement. Nape Mashiane, Mpilwenhle Banda and Florence Mampuru discussed the specific orientation and mobility challenges.

Two Innovation for the Blind Orientation and Mobility clients, Terelga Bald and Dr Johan Pretorius, shared how training impacted their lives

Sunday, 13 November 2022

The following were discussed by Wendy Histed, Dr Johan Pretorius, and Deena Moodley respectively: Ten cases from a city practice and all the possibilities, Deaf blindness and the unique needs of deafblind persons and Different Technologies to enhance mobility.

Esme v/d Westhuizen, from the mayor`s office, handed out gift bags to the delegates

This conference would have been impossible without the generous support of the following sponsors: 








Thank you to all the delegates and participants for attending the first-ever Orientation and Mobility Mini-Conference.  Your contribution towards the dignity and empowerment of persons with visual and additional disabilities is indispensable.  

Thank you for making a difference.

Regards, Sharon Goosen


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