The World commemorates International Braille Day on 4 January. In view of this day falling in the midst of the summer holidays in South Africa, Blind SA will commemorate the International Braille Day inconjunction with World Read Aloud Day on 1 February 2018 in partnership with Nal’ibali national for-reading-enjoyment campaign. Blind SA will encourage blind and partially sighted learners at the twenty two Special Schools in South Africa to read “The final moment” by South African author, Zukiswa Wanner, in braille.
Christo de Klerk, chairperson of the Blind SA Braille Committee and President of the International Council on English Braille, said “Braille is the medium of communication for blind and partially sighted persons.”
He adds; “WHAT IS BRAILLE?
Braille is a raised script based on a cell of six dots in which different combinations of dots are used for each letter of the alphabet, for punctuation and for symbols representing whole words or groups of letters – 63 symbols in all. Grade 1 Braille is uncontracted and Grade 2 Braille is contracted.”
He noted that “the system was devised in the first half of the 19th century by the French genius schoolboy, Louis Braille who was blind himself, and is used worldwide today to print in most languages, music, mathematics, computer and other scientific codes.”
Blind SA is accredited as a service provider with the ETDP SETA being accredited for two unit standards for educators and/or blind and partially sighted persons:
Grade 1 US 264937, Communication Methods for the Blind and Partially Sighted, NQF Level 4, Credits 15; and
Grade 2 US 117872, Read and Write Fully Contracted Standard Braille, NQF Level 5, Credits 15.
Blind SA is also registered with The South African Council for Educators (SACE) and educators receive CPD points for the accredited training.
The Sponsor a Book – “Ri Wana Ndivho” “(to find, source, get knowledge) project was initiated by Blind SA to provide accessible learner teacher support material to blind and partially sighted learners.
Blind and partially sighted learners are enrolled in Special Schools and in Mainstream and Full Service Schools in South Africa. These learners require accessible formatted (DAISY, Braille, Audio, E-Books and Large Print) Learner Teacher Support Materials (LTSM-textbooks, prescribed books and recreational reading materials) since they are not able to read the standard printed materials. The Department of Basic Education and Provincial Departments of Education have only provided the Workbooks to learners in Braille and Large Print.
Since the launch of the Ri Wana Ndivho project, Braille Services of Blind SA received corporate funding to produce over twenty CAPS textbooks in various African Languages.
Braille Services production for the last year was;
Braille Master page production: 101 347
Braille Duplication page production: 1 619 037
Blind SA is a national Disable People’s Organisation (DPO) established in 1946 as the South African Blind Workers Organisation (SABWO) and renamed Blind SA in 2005.
The main objective of Blind SA is to empower blind and partially sighted people in South Africa to become economically self-supporting and to live a full and meaningful life.
Blind SA provides services that empower blind and partially sighted people directly and by training trainers that empower our beneficiaries.
The main services are listed below:
- Advocacy, lobbying and self-representation
- Awareness raising, information dissemination and distribution of information through various publications: Blind SA News, Braillorama, Braillorette, Braille Trumpet, Young Stoners and Parents Network newsletters
- Assistive devices: white canes, talking and braille watches, liquid level indicators, and braille paper
- Assistance for learners in special and mainstream schools and students registered with tertiary institutions
- Braille production of literature in UBC (unified braille code) in all 11 official languages
- Provision of study bursaries and loan facilities for the purchase of work and study related items.
- Training in accredited braille and orientation and mobility services and placement in skills training and placement in employment.