UAE: Kalimat Foundation (KF) Partners with NGOs to Provide Children with Books in Accessible Formats

Assistive Technology, Middle East, August 25 2021

UAE: Kalimat Foundation (KF), a UAE-based global non-profit, has launched a summer campaign under its ‘Ara’ (I See) initiative to enhance the reading experiences of individual children who are blind and visually impaired during their summer break by providing them access to 500 copies of braille, audio and large print books in the comfort of their home.
This latest charitable drive is in line with Ara’s vision to empower visually-impaired children and facilitate their access to knowledge and learning.
Under its summer campaign, Kalimat Foundation has reached out to these children aged 5 – 12 years with accessible format books through two UAE-based organisations, namely, Sharjah-based Emirates Association for Visually Impaired, which works towards the integration of visually impaired in the society; and Abu Dhabi-based Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination, the umbrella entity for all humanitarian bodies, social services, and people of determination institutions in Abu Dhabi.

Amna Al Mazmi, Director of KF, said: “In line with the directives of Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Founder and Chairperson of KF, we are committed to making learning resources readily available to every child, without exception, to enrich their lives, knowledge and cultural experiences. The donation of 500 books under the Ara initiative marks a significant step forward in removing the existing barriers to literacy faced by specially-abled children by improving access to learning opportunities for all.”

Mr. Adel al-zamar Chairman of Emirates Association for Visually Impaired, said: “Access to appropriate reading and learning materials is vital for children who are often left out of a shared learning experience. KF’s donation of accessible books supports an inclusive and holistic learning environment in the nation where more children can experience the joy of reading and acquiring knowledge.”

Naama Abdul Rahman Al Mansoori, Director of the Centre of Printing for the Blind and Visual Challenges at the ZHO said: “The Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination has contributed in cooperation with Kalimat Foundation to distribute Arabic accessible books to its children members who are blind and visually impaired. The partnership is aimed at developing the reading skills of visually impaired children to enrich their knowledge. We would like to extend our appreciation and gratitude to Kalimat Foundation for this initiative that will help us prepare visually impaired children for their full participation in society.”

By facilitating the production of accessible Arabic content and educating publishers about born accessible technologies and workflows, KF’s Ara initiative launched in 2017, has been nurturing the learning experiences of blind, visually impaired and print disabled children, and helping them integrate better into UAE’s multi-tiered literacy programmes.
Under this initiative, the KF had pledged hundreds of titles in audiobook, large-print, braille and accessible formats across all public libraries in the UAE and is working on extending these vital resources of knowledge and learning to small reading centres as well as new libraries around the UAE.

Around 6,000 accessible books were also made available to blind and visually impaired children in Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt, Palestine and Bahrain.

In a first-of-its-kind achievement for the region’s publishing and education sectors, KF launched 100 Arabic-language titles in the Epub3 or ‘born accessible’ format for readers aged 3 – 12 years. The Kalimat Foundation is currently working on increasing the number of titles in the accessible Epub3 format to offer more choices for print disabled readers everywhere.

Originally Published in Sharjah 24

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