The Nigeria Association of the Blind (NAB), Lagos State Chapter, has launched a Braille Press Centre equipped with assistive technology tools to help Blind persons have access to quality education and inclusive learning materials.
In addition to the press centre, NAB also acquired inclusive BP monitors and inclusive indoor games, as part of the facilities required to keep Blind persons active, engaging and healthy.
The centre was set up through donations from individuals and friends of the association, while the embosser and computers have been given to NAB previously, by the Lagos State Government through the Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs (LASODA).
While speaking at the launch of the event, the Chairman NAB Lagos Chapter, Barrister Lukuman Abolarinwa Salami explained that the press centre was set up because of the need to address the challenges that blind persons encounter in accessing learning materials.
Salami said “we have two Braille press centre in Lagos, and it is cumbersome for them to meet all demands. So, we believe that with the support from our foundational member, Mr. Michael Fadeyi, we can set up our press centre.”
While demonstrating how the Braille embosser works, he recalled that, “the Lagos State government gave us this Braille Embosser and Inclusive computers but we couldn’t use them because there was no money to set them up as there were no software(s).
“We now have a functional braille embosser and computer to be able to produce braille books for our members especially those in primary and secondary schools. Apart from this, we still need a very good scanner to convert braille books into soft copies, extra braille embosser to produce more books, and more money for braille paper, to subsidize the printing of these learning materials for beneficiaries.”
Salami added that “we bought some inclusive BP monitors so that blind people can also check their blood pressure themselves.”
He also explained that the indoor games – inclusive chess games – can be used by Blind persons who would like to play with sighted.
Vice Chairman NAB Lagos Chapter, Mr. Adeola Ania announced that “as part of the support, 50 women will be trained on how to make pastries at the center, we’ve gotten them hand gloves that can enable them to work independently without hurting themselves.”
For his part, a Doctoral Researcher from the University of Sussex, UK, a foundation member of the association, Mr. Michael Fadeyi expressed that, ‘everything that I’ve achieved today largely in dependent on my friends and this association so I thought of giving back in my own little way for the development of the association and advancement of our members.
Fadeyi said “I’m very passionate about the women because a lot of them go through so much discrimination and abuse, so we need to financially and economically empower them so that in return they will be able to free themselves to a large extent from the abusers and be able to fend for themselves. And I’m happy that we can use part of the money also to empower the women’s wing.”
Fadeyi appreciates his friends, fellow church members of Region of the International Church of Christ, disciples and some blind persons within the UK for donating towards this gesture and hoped that government and other bodies will be able to do much more.
He appealed to the Lagos State government to also be more responsible and responsive to the needs of PWDs in the society because, ‘if we begin to take care of those within the disability community right now, one way or the other if we fall into that category, we will also have a system in place to take care of everyone of us.’
A member of the association, Mr. Bashiru Nuru, explained that indoor games such as Scrabble, Ludo, Whot, Double dot games are adapted in a way that the blind can conveniently play even with a sighted person without being cheated and appreciated Mr Michael Fadeyi for the fund raised and also appealed for more prospective donors.