Breaking barriers for the blind

“I accepted my condition long ago, and that has made me able to make the best of life,”

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The Bulletin Newspaper

We often take the little things for granted. Something as seemingly insignificant as opening our eyes at the dawn of a new day and seeing our surroundings can go unthought of. The convenient act of running our eyes over the words on a page like this one, comprehending what is being communicated to us, is an ability that we rarely pause to consider. Yet there are many who go about their lives without the sense of sight.
Often, public institutions are not inclusive of the disabled. The relationship between libraries and the blind and/or visually impaired community is of particular interest. Within the TEKS area, the Secunda and eMbalenhle public libraries are leading the way in providing a more comprehensive service to this community.
Members of Kuthala Association for the Blind were recently invited to eMbalenhle Library for training in the use of document readers and computers for the blind. The equipment was donated by the South African Library for the blind, in association with Mzansi Libraries Online.
Kuthala Association for the Blind was formed in 2012 by an initial four members. Presently, more than 50 members from Kinross, eMbalenhle and Leandra convene once a week to encourage one another, facilitate reading sessions and attend training programs.
Thabiso Maila, a member of the association, expressed gratitude for the document reader and computer that were donated. Having attended Thibiloha School for the Deaf and Blind, as well as studying an IT course at Lead Change Developments (an IT training facility for the blind and people living with disabilities), Maila is in an ideal position to train members of his community.
“I accepted my condition long ago, and that has made me able to make the best of life,” Maila said. Taking charge of his own fate and maintaining a proactive attitude towards his own education has made Maila a proficient computer user. Despite being unable to see for the past 10 years, he can keep up with his favourite newspapers, type his own documents and even finish a novel.
Thanks to institutions like the South African Library for the Blind, barriers for the visually impaired are well on their way to destruction.

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