Braille newspaper launched in Namibia

Africa, November 25 2013

WINDHOEK: New Era Publication Corporation on Friday witnessed a new dawn of inclusiveness when it launched Namibia’s first weekly Braille newspaper.

Published courtesy of the New Era newspaper’s content, the Braille weekly is produced and translated at the Namibia Federation for the Visually Impaired (NFVI) using that organization resources.

Speaking at the launch held at the New Era head offices in Windhoek, Daniel Trum, the National Coordinator of the NFVI said people with vision disabilities generally do not have much access to technology and reading material.

Initially a limited number of fifty to sixty copies of the Braille newspaper will be printed on a weekly basis. The total production and printing cost would be about N$ 10 000, said Trum.

“If the demand is more we might increase and if it is less we might decrease,” he said.

For now copies are available at the NFVI headquarters in Windhoek, Eluwa Special School in Ongwediva and the ELCIN Rehabilitation Centre at Oniipa.

The encyclopaedia sized newspaper that contains content of the New Era newspaper, logically excluding photos, now sells for N$4.

“Information in newspapers have been hidden from us for many years. Having a Braille newspaper has been our long time dream,” remarked Trum who urged people with vision disabilities to  make use of the opportunity to access information presented in the Braille New Era newspaper.

“We are doing this project at our own cost as we know that nothing about us is without us, so we are trying to do something on our own and anyone who wants to come on board and support us can find us already running,” said Trum, who encouraged other media institutions to follow New Era’s initiative.

New Era Publication Corporation Chief Executive Officer, Dr Audrin Mathe, said the New Era newspaper is a public institution and thus would try to accommodate all people including those who are blind.

Said Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Stanley Simataa, who was the guest speaker: “The launch of the Braille print today signals the dawn of a new era on our media landscape. This development brings to an end an era where Namibians who are blind or low vision felt discriminated against as they were kept out of the information loop.”

The deputy minister said with the launch of the Braille publication the country will move a step closer to meeting access to information for all.  He added that people with vision disabilities could now go to the polling  booths with an informed perspective on events in the country, thanks to the Braille newspaper.

“I congratulate New Era Publication Corporation for undertaking such a progressive initiative. Yes, we have every reason to celebrate this milestone for it ushers in an era of inclusiveness in providing information to all our citizens regardless of their status or condition,” said Simataa further. He as well urged other media institutions to follow New Era’s  example.

Manasse Tjijanjalala, who is blind, could not contain his joy at the launch of the Braille newspaper.  He said: “I am very very happy – let me say I am proud that now news will reach people with vision disabilities. If I read a copy myself, I will understand it better as opposed to someone who is reading it for me. I will be a 100 percent regular buyer of the New Era Braille newspaper,” said Tjijanjalala.

Source: New Era

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