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Our First Braille Library

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  7 Jan 2017 12:00 AM GMT

Assam got its first-ever braille library for the visually impaired on January 4, 2017—about half-a-century later than the establishment of such libraries in other developing countries of the world. January 4 is observed as the World Braille Day to commemorate the birth anniversary of Louis Braille, the inventor of the Braille code. The braille library, which was set up in the Guwahati Blind High School campus on Wednesday, was gifted by Amway Opportunities Foundation’s corporate social responsibility wing in partnership with the school. The Amway Opportunity Foundation (AOF) will offer braille versions of books and jourls to about 100 visually impaired students and former students of the school. This is very heartening news considering the scant attention our government and society have paid to people with disabilities in our State. This fact of life should be only too evident from the lack of any access facilities for wheel chairs in our government buildings. The most visible attitude of government functiories is their pretence that people with disabilities either do not exist in the State or ought not to exist. This, of course, is a very uninformed and unhelpful approach to the needs of the visually impaired and people with other disabilities, especially in the context of a 2008 Health Ministry report that lists Assam, with 15.6 lakh visually impaired people (four per cent of the population), as the State with the highest number of sight-disadvantaged persons in India. And that is why Amway India, that aims to open 31 braille libraries in India over the next few months, has decided to have at least four of them in the Northeast. What is indeed heartening is that when the government fails to notice what it should have before anyone else, there are altertive corporate organizations or NGOs that willingly chip in to take care of unfavourable situations.

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