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  • Kamis, 04 Juni 2009


    World Blind Union
    1929 Bayview Avenue,
    Toronto Ontario Canada M4G 3E8
    Tel: 1-416-486-9698, Fax: 1-416-486-8107
    Email: info@wbuoffice.org
    Website: www.worldblindunion.org

    Table of Contents

    Poem from Democratic Republic of the Congo 11
    Liberia Launches Postage Stamps in Memory of Louis Braille 12
    Braille Authority of Japan Celebrates Braille Bicentenary 13
    Louis Braille Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation 13
    WORLD SIGHT DAY – OCTOBER 8, 2009 13
    NGOs Unite to Bring Awareness to Inequities in Eye Care
    for Women 14
    IAPB Appoints New Chief Executive Officer 14
    Congratulations to Mrs. Hendrietta Bogopone-Zulu on her Appointment as South Africa’s First Visually Impaired Cabinet Minister 15
    WBU Remembers Julio Cesar Fretes 15
    Families Connecting with Families International Conference,
    July 17 – 19, 2009 15
    IBSA General Assembly Elects Executive Committee for the
    Period 2009-2013 15
    Congratulations to Dr. Euclid Herie and Dr. Dean Tuttle for
    their Nominations to the American Printing House for the
    Blind Hall of Fame 16
    Call for Papers for the Right to Education Project Website 17
    Techshare 2009 17
    DAISY 2009 17
    Global Conference on Inclusive Education 17
    Braille Without Borders Now Accepting New Applicants 17
    DAISY Announces the Availability of Obi, an Open-Source Recording Tool for the Creation of DAISY Books 18
    On-demand Accessible Books 18
    Website offering Monthly Audio Magazines 18
    New, Reduced Rates for Individual Subscriptions to JVIB Now Available! 19
    Free Human Rights Resources 19
    New Resource on HIV/AIDS 19
    Call for Proposals: UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women 20
    New UK Publication on Flight Travel for Persons with Disabilities 21
    The Global Voice - the radio station helping the worlds blind and sighted communities see eye to eye 21
    North America/Caribbean Region Activities in Support of WBU Strategic Plan 21
    National Federation of the Blind in the United States releases new report: The Braille Literacy Crisis in America, Facing the Truth, Reversing the Trend, Empowering the Blind 22
    American Foundation for the Blind helps companies to make their websites accessible 23
    The WBU-AP Quadrennium Plan of Action 2009 – 2012 23
    Historical Workshop in Papua New Guinea 24
    Women’s Program 25
    Children’s Program 27

    Contributions are welcome to the E-Bulletin. We thank those of you who have been providing us with content for the E-bulletins and encourage contributions from all regions. Our next deadline for content submission will be Friday July 3rd for our July 2009 issue of the E-bulletin. We will accept submissions in English, French and Spanish, preferably in electronic format.

    Welcome to the May issue of our E-Bulletin.

    Since the last issue we have undertaken a great deal of work finalizing the structures to support the strategic plan 2009 – 2012. A list of the committees, working groups and those who represent us on a range of external bodies can be found on out website.

    Our Right to Read campaign under the leadership of Chris Friend continues to gain momentum with many members having lobbied to gain support for the WBU treaty which will be considered at the SCCR (Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights) meeting in Geneva at the end of May. The outcomes of that meeting will be included in the July issue of the E-Bulletin.

    2009 continues to be a busy year of celebration taking place all around the world. We share some of these in this issue.

    A second International conference “International Congress VI2009” will be held in France, this time in Coupvray 18 – 20 June with an interesting program. The first day will consist of presentations from people who are blind or low vision from the five continents sharing their personal experiences and the situation for people who are blind or low vision in their country. The second day will focus on integration which includes education and employment. The third day will focus on access to media and culture for people who are blind or low vision.

    It was decided at the first executive meeting for this term that given the very special year of 2009, the Louis Braille Medal would be held over and presented during the June conference in Coupvray, the birth place of Louis Braille. The recipient of this year’s medal is revealed in this issue. A most fitting and deserving individual in a year which celebrates braille for braille users: past, present and future.

    I am also pleased to inform you that, following a review of the CEO position and her performance in the role, we mutually agreed to extend Penny Hartin’s original three year contract for another three years and so she will continue to be with us until at least 2012.

    I will end by letting you know that we have been busy planning a global summit on employment to be held in June. We are bringing together a wide range of individuals from around the world, some who work in the field of blindness and others from partners who do not. The objective is to develop a global campaign to address the appalling situation of employment for people who are blind or have low vision irrespective of what part of the world they live. Outcomes of the summit will be included in the next issue of this E-Bulletin.

    Maryanne Diamond

    Membership Fee Reminder
    All members should now have received their invoices for the payment of membership fees for 2009. These are due by June 30th. If your organization has not received your invoice, please let the office know (info@wbuoffice.org ) and we will resend it to you.

    This is also a reminder that if you are requesting reclassification of fee category or a relief of membership fees, you will need to complete the application forms for these requests. These application forms and the guidelines are available on the WBU website in English, French and Spanish. You may also request them from the office. The membership fees committee will be meeting on June 21st to review the applications that it has received. Only completed application forms will be reviewed by the committee.

    Scholarship Funds
    New guidelines and application forms for the Hermoine Grant Calhoun Scholarships (for blind women), the Pedro Zurita Youth Fund and the Arne Husveg Development Fund are available on the WBU website or from the WBU Office.

    We are very pleased to announce that the Louis Braille Medal will be awarded by the WBU to Dr. Euclid Herie in Coupvray, France in June in conjunction with the Coupvray Conference being organized as part of the Louis Braille Bicentenary celebrations. Dr. Herie, who is from Canada, was chosen from a group of six very worthy nominees. Presently an Honorary Life Member of the WBU, and a Past President, Dr. Herie served as WBU Treasurer from 1988 to 1996, as WBU President from 1996 to 2000 and as Past President from 2000 to 2004. Among his key achievements as President was his work with the Universal Postal Union to maintain free postal service for materials for the blind as well as his work to preserve the Louis Braille birthplace in Coupvray. Following his retirement both from the WBU and from CNIB where he served as it President and CEO for 18 years, Dr. Herie established the World Braille Foundation which provides braille literacy grants in developing countries. More information on the award presentation will be included in the July E-bulletin.

    As has been reported in previous WBU E-bulletins, the WBU Officers met in December to elaborate the new Strategic Plan for the term. This has been shared with you and both the Strategic Plan and the Summary Workplan are available on the WBU website in our three languages. The purpose of this article is to give you a status report of our progress in each of our four priority areas. While it is still early days in the implementation of the Plan, and while some of the working groups and committees are still being finalized, you will see that some good progress has been made already. Updates have been provided below by each of the Priority leaders:

    Strategic Priority 1: Promoting Full Participation and Equal Opportunities for Blind and Partially Sighted Persons in all Aspects of Social, Economic, Political, and Cultural Life
    By William Rowland

    The rights invoked by the WBU’s first strategic priority can be promoted at two levels, through access to books, technology, media, and the environment, and through the development of a society in which we can participate economically and live our private and public lives on the basis of equality. Such a vision is all-encompassing, but the practical steps we take towards its realization have to be clearly targeted. And so our overall human rights priority has been translated into three focus areas, for which AK Mittal and I have accepted responsibility.

    Under strategic objective 1 -responsible person Chris Friend- we work towards a world that is accessible to blind and partially sighted persons. It covers such matters as the right to read and the ending of the book famine potentially through such measures as a copyright treaty, cross-border lending, and in-country right to read campaigns. It includes access to the physical environment, ground and air transport, and dealing with situations of risk, for example the threat posed by silent vehicles and spaces designed for shared activities between vehicles and pedestrians. Also, the time has come to make television and other visual media more accessible through audio description. This we aim to do in an increasing number of countries and through expanded time allocations.

    Via strategic objective 2 -responsible person Colin Low- we leverage the UN system to achieve multiple ends. Here we will be lobbying for governments to take their obligations under the CRPD very seriously by adopting policies and implementing programs that meaningfully impact the lives of blind and partially sighted persons. We also have an interest in the new CBR (Community Based Rehabilitation) guidelines being developed by WHO (World Health Organization), ILO (International Labor Organization), and UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific & Culture Organization) as a means to deliver training and open up opportunities in developing communities. The World Disability Report being developed by the same UN agencies is expected to provide data and recommendations that will enhance CRPD (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) implementation. And, then, at a very practical level, we will continue to defend the free post without which our library services and much of our braille and audio communication would no longer be possible.

    Under strategic objective 3 - for which I take responsibility - an Advocacy and Human Rights Committee is being established to monitor human rights issues of importance to the WBU, guide our interventions where rights are being violated, and plan the increasing integration of these issues into mainstream rights promotion and protection.

    This, in broad outline, is the work envisaged in terms of Strategic Priority 1. As our human rights work progresses, AK Mittal and I will report in greater detail in future issues of the WBU E-Bulletin.

    Strategic Priority 2: Capacity Building – Strengthening the Capabilities and Capacity of the WBU Regional Structures and Member Organizations
    By Arnt Holte

    Within the capacity building priority, we have five objectives dealing with: employment, capacity building of our members including our target populations in our work, strengthening the World Braille Council and supporting implementation of the CRPD (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) at the national level. The following highlights our progress in each of these areas:

    Planning is well underway to hold an Employment Summit at the end of June in England. This employment summit will bring together about 40 international leaders and experts in employment of blind and partially sighted persons. The objective of the summit is to develop a Global Campaign on employment of blind and partially sighted persons.

    With respect to capacity building of our members, the first meeting of the development committee will be held in Paris at the end of June. In addition, a funding proposal for hiring a development coordinator has been developed and is presently being sent to some prospective funders.

    For the diversity objective, we have developed a framework for the diversity committee which will be supported by working groups representing our key target populations, such as women, youth, children and older persons and will finalize this structure when the Officers meet at the end of June.

    A good deal of work on the World Braille Council (WBC) has been done by its Chair, Mr. Kaul from India. The Council will be made up of representatives from all regions as well as our major language groups as well as recognized experts in Braille. The WBC will meet in early November to do its detailed planning at a meeting being hosted by ONCE in Madrid.

    With respect to our objective related to CRPD, we are still defining the leadership and the tasks for managing this objective. However, we know that many of our members are working in this area and will have some very useful tools to share with us. We are also reflecting the need for training related to CRPD in our funding proposals for capacity building.

    Strategic Priority 3: Information Sharing - Serving as an International Information and Resource Centre on Matters in Respect of Blind and Partially Sighted Persons
    By Enrique Pérez

    1. Developing a resource repository for members including website
    Some preliminary work has been done on the website, including a map of everything that is on the present site in the three languages as well as a map of a new proposed structure. Reference and ideas from several sites of our member organizations has been taken into account to learn from their expertise and to add different perspective of current and successful sites to try to be able to include all that into a more useful and intuitive new site.

    A proposal has been developed to request funding for a resource bank coordinator for the WBU. Several potential sources have been indentified for this proposal and the first request has already been submitted to a major international foundation. Other proposals will be sent over the coming weeks.

    2. Developing international partnerships and collaboration
    We have been working very closely with ICEVI (International Council for Education of People with Vision Impairment), Vision Alliance and IDA (International Disability Alliance) to strengthen our international partnerships. We recognize the importance or working with other organizations in order to achieve our vision and goals.

    The Vision Alliance consisting of: the WBU, ICEVI and IAPB (International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness) has been formed, as reported on the last issue of the E-Bulletin. Details of this alliance and any future plans or working together can by found by a link from the WBU website.

    WBU continues to work with ICEVI on the EFAVI (Education for All Visually Impaired Children) campaign and we are particularly pleased that the coordinator employed in Africa to lead the campaign in that region is placed in the AFUB office in Nairobi. ICEVI will be represented at the global summit on employment as we recognize the direct link between education and employment.

    In 1999 the WBU was the convener in Cape Town of the original meeting of five organisations that in time became IDA (International Disability Alliance). The following are key points to mention reflecting IDA's activities of recent months:
     William Rowland has held the chair for the past year, which has been an eventful period with the coming into force of the CRPD;
     The current membership is the eight disability international and three regional structures for Europe, Latin America, and the Arab countries;
     IDA is playing a very active role in monitoring the work of the CRPD Committee;

    At the end of 2009 the Secretariat of IDA will transfer from Rehabilitation International to the EUROPEAN Disability Forum, a structure that has one of our Executive members, Yannis Vardakastanis, as President.

    3. Developing the capacity to include our various language communities within the work of the WBU
    A Language Strategy working group has been established and will meet face to face for the first time in June. Principles are being identified and a strategy will be presented for approval at the June Officers meeting.

    The WBU office is also looking at some of the translation softwares which are available and which were favorably reviewed by a website that has reviewed the top ten translation software packages. Some of these may be suitable for internal translation but the translation results do need editing by someone familiar with the language. More information will follow as our evaluations progress.

    Enabling Priority: An Effective Organization
    By Maryanne Diamond

    This area of our work relates to strengthening the WBU as an organization, thus allowing us to achieve our identified priorities. In recent months we have undertaken the following:

     We welcomed two new international members: Lighthouse International and AMDAI (Age Related Macular Degeneration Alliance International)
     We undertook a review of the CEO position and her performance in that role
     Vision Australia and Royal New Zealand Foundation of the blind have pledged to continue as sponsors of our headquarters until 2013. We thank them for this ongoing commitment
     A schedule has been developed by the Secretary General to contact each member during the term providing a great opportunity for members to discuss their membership, expectations of the WBU and the situation in their country or organization
     Members of committees, working groups and WBU representatives have been put in place to support and achieve our strategic plan 2009 – 2012. The final structure and names of those who will undertake this work is almost complete and will soon be placed on the website
     Work continues with Sarah Goodwin the fund development resource provided to us by RNIB. We have developed three major proposals, one for a development coordinator, one for a resource bank coordinator and one for core funding support. We have also identified several sources for these proposals and have begun sending out proposals, which must be customized for each source
     Penny Hartin has acquired access to a Canadian funding database and will begin making approaches to Canadian funding sources in the near future
     The 2009 budget has been approved by the officers, financial accounts for 2008 has been audited and will be presented at the June meeting of the officers. These will be forwarded to the members before the end of June
     Guidelines for reclassification of fees and for seeking fee relief have been finalized, translated and circulated to members. Applications received will be considered at the next meting of the Membership Fee Committee in June
     Invoices for 2009 fees have been sent to all members and many have responded promptly. A reminder will be sent to members at the end of May where appropriate

    Poem from Democratic Republic of the Congo
    By Dandy Mubima

    “Even before I used my white cane,
    I needed to read those raised dots,
    Those six raised dots called Braille
    Braille greatly changed my life

    I knew I could not write with a pencil
    I knew I could not read print
    I was twelve years old, I had dreams
    I wanted to be a teacher

    Then I met someone, who could read
    One who could make sense of those dots,
    The letters came to me easy
    The rules were quite hard

    Braille contracted? Braille Uncontracted?
    Braille grade 1? Braille Grade 2?
    Would I make sense of this?
    Would I ever read again?

    I had to have determination
    I had to have faith, a little faith
    I was going to be a teacher
    I was going to be a winner

    I look back, it seems a dream
    I made it! I am now a teacher
    I teach kids in my small village
    I bring light into their lives

    My name is teacher Mputu
    My village is far away
    My village is called Mpene
    My village is in the DRC

    Before, I had no hope
    Before, I was blind
    But now, I can see
    Braille you are my light!
    Thank you Louis Braille!”
    Liberia Launches Postage Stamps in Memory of Louis Braille
    In response to the global call for action to execute appropriate programs in recognition of the work of Louis Braille, the Government of Liberia through its Ministry of Post and Telecommunication recently undertook the official launch of several postage stamps in commemoration of the Bi-Centenary of the Birth of Louis Braille.

    At an official ceremony held on Thursday, March 12, 2009 in the foyer of the Ministry located on Carey Street down town Monrovia, Hon. Jeremiah Solunteh, Minister of Post and Telecommunication and Post Master General, presented an album in the presence of dignitaries, officials of government and a cross-section of the blind to Mr. Beyan G. Kota, President of the Liberia Christian Association of the Blind (CAB).

    The album, which contained postage stamps in three different denominations, portrays Louis Braille seated in a chair behind a table reading Braille with a white cane leaning against the wall, while a blind person is seen in another stamp crossing the street in a cross walk with vehicles at stand still indicating response to a signal yielding to the right of way of the blind.
    Braille Authority of Japan Celebrates Braille Bicentenary
    On October 31 – November 1, 2009, the Braille Authority of Japan will be holding a two day event to celebrate the bicentenary of Louis Braille’s birth and the 150th anniversary of Kuraji Ishikawa, the transformer of the 6 Braille dot system into Japanese. Next year, they will celebrate the 120th anniversary of the Japanese Braille system which was transformed by Kuraji Ishikawa in 1890.

    The planned events include: (1) Braille reading/writing contest; (2) Essay contest about Braille for sighted primary school students; (3) Exhibition of the development of letters for the blind in Japan (before the introduction of the Braille system); (4) Ceremony to commemorate the birth of two great contributors to the literacy of the blind; (5) Donation of slates, styli and braille paper to blind people in developing countries.
    Louis Braille Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation
    The National Braille Press has announced the 2009 Louis Braille Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation as announced in the Louis Braille: A Touch of Genius biography. The Louis Braille Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation which involves a $20,000 prize will be awarded to an individual or group of individuals who contribute to innovation in the field of tactile literacy for blind people.

    Applications must be submitted electronically, followed by a signed hard copy. Completed applications must be received by July 20, 2009. For further information please visit the National Braille Press website at: www.nbp.org

    This is a reminder that World Sight Day will be celebrated on Thursday, October 8, 2009. The theme of World Sight Day 2009 is Gender and Eye Health and recognizes that two-thirds of the world’s blind are women and that women have much less access to care and services than do men. We will be interested to know about World Sight Day and Vision 2020 initiatives are planned in your country.

    The World Sight Day 09 Information pack with guidance and ideas for World Sight Day activities is now available for download from the Vision 2020 website at: http://www.v2020.org/page.asp?section=0001000100070013
    NGOs Unite to Bring Awareness to Inequities in Eye Care for Women
    On April 30, 2009, leading eye care NGOs held a panel discussion in Washington: “Seeing Women: Taking on Gender Inequities in Global Blindness Prevention”. The event explored links between gender and blindness, poverty, disability and education.

    “Globally, women bear a greater burden of blindness than men,” said Victoria Sheffield, President, International Eye Foundation and panel moderator. “In virtually all developing countries, there is clear evidence that women are less likely to receive eye care services than men. While the reasons vary, there are two consistent themes—eye health care programs are not tailored to meet the needs of women and there are cultural and social barriers at the community level that prohibit the use of services by women.”

    The event, organized by Helen Keller International, International Eye Foundation, Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology and Seva Foundation, has established the foundation for bringing key groups together and setting a course for action. More information will follow as plans develop for World Sight Day 2009.
    IAPB Appoints New Chief Executive Officer
    The WBU extends its sincere congratulations to Mr. Peter Ackland on his recent appointment as CEO of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). Peter is no stranger to the WBU, having worked for many years with Sightsavers International as their Director of Overseas Operations until he took up the post as Director of Programs for IAPB about two years ago. Welcome Peter and we look forward to working with you in your new role.
    Congratulations to Mrs. Hendrietta Bogopone-Zulu on her Appointment as South Africa’s First Visually Impaired Cabinet Minister
    Mr. Jacob Zuma, when he was sworn in as the fourth President of the Republic of South Africa, announced his new Cabinet, which includes South Africa’s first visually impaired female Cabinet member. The Honorable Hendrietta Bogopone-Zulu, a partially sighted motivational speaker, business woman and activist within the visually impaired sector, became Deputy Minister of Public Works. We congratulate Hendrietta on this outstanding recognition of her abilities demonstrated through this appointment. Those who attended the WBU Women’s forum and General Assembly in Geneva last August will recall Hendrietta’s inspirational presentations there.
    WBU Remembers Julio Cesar Fretes
    Julio Fretes, a dedicated blind leader from Paraguay, was tragically killed during a street robbery in early May. He was a brilliant lawyer, a tireless advocate and a user of the new technologies. He was very involved in the promotion of the CRPD and was the Paraguayan government candidate for the CRPD Committee of Experts. The WBU offers its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Fretes.

    Families Connecting with Families International Conference, July 17 – 19, 2009
    The National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (United States) is hosting an international conference for parents of children with vision impairments in Costa Mesa, California from July 17 – 19th. For additional information, please visit www.FamilyConnect.org.
    IBSA General Assembly Elects Executive Committee for the Period 2009-2013
    The IBSA membership, gathered in Antalya, Turkey, for the 8th IBSA General Assembly last month, elected the new Executive Committee for the work period 2009-2013. Mr. Michael Barredo from the Philippines was re-elected unopposed to the position of IBSA President, while Gary Steeves from Canada takes over as the federation's Vice-President. The remaining members serving on the Executive Committee for the coming four years are:

    Secretary General: Mesut Dedeoglu (Turkey); Technical Director: Radu Rosenthal (Israel); Medical Director: Roman Tolmachev (Russia);
    Treasurer: Silvia Aldini (Italy)

    Continental Delegate Africa: Foudic Mustapha (Algeria); Continental Delegate America: Domingo Latela (Argentina); Continental Delegate Asia: Radha Krishnan (Malaysia); Continental Delegate Europe: Neil O'Donovan (Ireland); Continental Delegate Oceania: Ray McLeod (New Zealand)

    Members-at-Large: Aliasghar Hadizadeh (Iran); Mariano Ruiz (Spain); Ismail Akiol (Turkey); Oral Miller (USA)

    The WBU extends its congratulations to all those who were elected to take on leadership positions within IBSA for the next four year period.
    Congratulations to Dr. Euclid Herie and Dr. Dean Tuttle for their Nominations to the American Printing House for the Blind Hall of Fame
    The Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field, founded in 2001, is housed at the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) in Louisville, Kentucky. The Hall, which belongs to the entire field of blindness, is dedicated to preserving the tradition of excellence manifested by specific individuals through the history of outstanding services provided to people who are blind or visually impaired in North America. The Hall is guided by a nine member Governing Board.

    To date, forty-two outstanding professionals who made significant contributions to the field of blindness have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. They will be joined by Dr. Euclid Herie and Dr. Dean Tuttle who will be inducted on Friday evening, October 16, 2009.

    Additional information regarding the 2009 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will soon appear on the APH website, www.aph.org.
    Visit the Hall of Fame website at: http://www.aph.org/hall_fame/index.html for information on the Hall and those inducted.
    Call for Papers for the Right to Education Project Website
    Please visit the website of the Right to Education Project, which aims to promote social mobilization and legal accountability, focusing on education rights. The website intends to popularize the right to education and ensure all relevant actors (education coalitions, NGOs, unions, activists, UN organizations, governments, human rights lawyers, individuals and groups seeking redress etc) have access to up-to-date and nationally relevant information on advocacy for the right to education.

    The website will feature a section for Students and Academics where all interested can share published or unpublished papers on topics such as education, human rights, child rights, education financing, the role of the international community and its institutions for ESC rights, the role of the state as duty bearer, vulnerable groups and strategic litigation on education rights etc. www.right-to-education.org
    Techshare 2009
    Techshare 2009 will take place on 16 - 18 September 2009 at ExCeL London in east London's Royal Victoria Dock. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about developments and innovations in digital assistive technology. There is more information about the event on the Techshare web pages: www.rnib.org.uk/techshare
    DAISY 2009
    To showcase the DAISY technology, the German Central Library for the Blind Leipzig will organize an international conference and meeting week in Leipzig/Germany from 21 to 27 September 2009: DAISY2009.
    For more details, please visit their website at: www.daisy2009.de
    Global Conference on Inclusive Education
    A Global Conference on Inclusive Education is titled Closing the Gap: Rhetoric, Rights and Practices. Organized by Inclusion International and Inclusion Europe, the conference will take place 21-23 October 2009 in Salamanca, Spain. For more information please email
    Braille Without Borders Now Accepting New Applicants
    The International Institute for Social Entrepreneurs seeks to empower people, especially blind and partially sighted, to become social entrepreneurs in your communities. Candidates from all over the world who are at least eighteen and older and who can read and write English are invited to apply for this one-year program before the 30th of June. Computer literacy training, public speaking, fund raising, and management are some of the courses offered here. For more information please visit their website at http://www.bwb-iise.org/.

    DAISY Announces the Availability of Obi, an Open-Source Recording Tool for the Creation of DAISY Books
    Obi open source audio recording tool enables a broader audience to produce accessible, navigable information for people with print disabilities. DAISY audio books created with Obi can be produced with chapters, sections, sub-sections and pages, providing navigation to the content. Obi is fully accessible using assistive technologies such as screen readers. In addition, Obi reduces the time required to work with sophisticated production tools and significantly reduces tool costs that may create barriers for some.
    On-demand Accessible Books
    The Australian based internet bookshop, Read How You Want, offers a wide selection of on-demand, optimized alternative format books. Each edition has been optimized for maximum readability, using their patent-pending conversion technology.

    Visually impaired readers will be offered the first chapters of bestsellers for free from Read How You Want. The chapters will be available from the website of HumanWare, who are partners in the project: www.humanware.com/en-united_kingdom/home. Or visit www.readhowyouwant.com/ for more information and ordering details.
    Website offering Monthly Audio Magazines
    Visit www.airsla.org/ for audio versions of various publications.
    For periodicals, visit the page: www.airsla.org/cat_periodicals.asp, where they have links to publications like National Geographic, Readers Digest, People Magazine, Popular Mechanics and the like.
    You can also find links to specific articles on these pages where you can download the .mp3 file and listen to it.
    New, Reduced Rates for Individual Subscriptions to JVIB Now Available!
    Effective immediately, AFB Press and the American Foundation for the Blind have just announced new, reduced individual subscription rates for the Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness (JVIB) of $25 for online access and $65 for a combined print and online subscription.

    JVIB is the leading, international journal in the area of blindness and low vision that provides the latest in cutting-edge research, best practices, technology, and news. Your subscription entitles you to unlimited access to more than 10 years of online content. To join the JVIB community, visit: http://www.afb.org/jvibspecial.asp.
    Free Human Rights Resources
    The Harvard Law School Project on Disability has resources available for free download. They are:
    1. We have Human Rights, a Handbook with an easy to read explanation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
    2. Change your Life with Human Rights, an easy to read explanation of how to advocate for your human rights.
    3. "Tenemos Derechos Humanos" a Spanish language translation of We Have Human Rights.
    For links to all of the above in pdf and Word, go to http://www.hpod.org/
    New Resource on HIV/AIDS
    During the past decade international organizations, civil society groups and governments worldwide have intensified their efforts to describe the intersections between HIV and violence against women (VAW). Due to methodological limitations, information is limited regarding the ways in which both areas interconnect in their causes, outcomes and social responses. Having said this, however, evidence is sufficient to justify an integrated approach to HIV and VAW in both policy and practice in different countries.
    As a contribution to this work, Development Connections (DVCN) and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) have collaborated to produce A Manual for Integrating the Programs and Services of HIV and Violence Against Women. It can be downloaded free of charge in English at: http://www.dvcn.org/Documents/ManualHIVVAWEN.pdf
    Available in Spanish at: http://www.dvcn.org/Documents/ManualVIHVCMSP.pdf
    Also available for free download is the Multiple Faces of the Intersections Between HIV and VAW published by DVCN, UNIFEM, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and others.
    For the English, go to: http://www.dvcn.org/Documents/HIVVAW4.pdf
    For the same material in Spanish, go to http://www.dvcn.org/Documents/VIHVCMES09.pdf
    Call for Proposals: UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women
    The United Nations Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence against Women ("The UN Trust Fund") is a leading global multi-lateral mechanism supporting national efforts to end one of the most widespread human rights violations in the world. Established in 1996, the UN Trust Fund (which is administered by UNIFEM) has contributed to breaking the once nearly universal silence on violence against women through grants to:
     Increase awareness
     Advocate for passage and implementation of laws grounded in human rights standards
     Promote access to services
     Develop sustainable capacities for continued progress
    The UN Trust Fund is now soliciting proposals for its 14th grant cycle (2009). For information, go to http://cambodiajobs.blogspot.com/2009/04/call-for-proposals-un-trust-fund-to-end.html
    New UK Publication on Flight Travel for Persons with Disabilities
    The UK Equality and Human Rights Commission have recently published a document titled “Your Right to Fly.” It is described as “A step by step guide for disabled and less mobile passengers, which gives an overview of your rights and explains what you can do to ensure your journey runs smoothly from start to finish.” This document is available for free download at http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/publicationsandresources/pages/publications.aspx?t=Disability
    The Global Voice - the radio station helping the worlds blind and sighted communities see eye to eye
    A new internet radio station, centered in Europe but targeting the whole world planned for launch at the beginning of May 2009. This will be a serious, professional standard radio station whose goal is to bridge gaps between blind and sighted communities throughout the world, as well as to provide a voice for the world’s blind population.
    They plan to provide content in areas of news, technology, music and other entertainment, all in different languages. Anyone interested in joining the project as a broadcaster in any language with live or pre-recorded shows please feel free to contact the undersigned. Also, if you have any thoughts or would like to help in any way, we'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas. The station is called The Global Voice.
    For further information, e mail: naama@theglobalvoice.info
    North America/Caribbean Region Activities in Support of WBU Strategic Plan
    The WBU Strategic Plan was a major agenda item at the spring meeting of the North America/Caribbean Region, held in Barbados on April 23 and 24, 2009. In addition to identifying multiple individuals to participate in WBU working groups and committees, the regional delegates discussed a number of activities by members at the regional level that support the priorities. Some highlights include:

     Under the umbrella of the Reading Rights coalition, U.S. organizations of and for the blind came together outside the Author’s Guild in New York City on April 7 to protest Amazon’s decision to allow individual publishers and authors to turn off TTS (text-to-speech) on the Kindle on a title-by title basis.
     During the Barbados meeting, the Regional President and WBU’s Chief Executive Officer appeared on Barbados TV to advocate for the right of visually impaired people to bring dog guides into Barbados.
     Individual organizations in the U.S. and Canada are working on specific projects with the Caribbean Council for the Blind to support capacity building in the Caribbean region, including advocacy training, leadership training, and web site development and maintenance.
     In support of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, The Caribbean Council of the Blind is conducting country-by-country symposia to encourage individual nations to ratify the Convention. On behalf of the NA/C region of the WBU, the Regional President is preparing a letter to be sent to the Obama Administration urging the United States to become a signatory to the Convention.
     NA/C regional members agreed to provide WBU’s web site with direct links from individual member web sites to enhance WBU’s online visibility and search engine optimization (SEO).

    National Federation of the Blind in the United States releases new report: The Braille Literacy Crisis in America, Facing the Truth, Reversing the Trend, Empowering the Blind
    A good education is the key to success, and every American deserves an equal opportunity to receive a good education. Inherent to being educated is being literate. The ability to read and write means access to information that, in turn, leads to understanding and knowledge. And knowledge is power—the power to achieve, function in the family, thrive in the community, succeed in a job, and contribute to society.

    Nearly 90 percent of America’s blind children are not learning to read and write because they are not being taught Braille or given access to it. There is a Braille literacy crisis in America.

    The National Federation of the Blind has recently released a report that addresses this issue. In this report to the nation on the state of Braille literacy in America, the NFB examines the history and decline of Braille education, addresses the crisis facing the blind today and key factors driving it, and proposes a number of action steps to double the Braille literacy rate by 2015 and eventually reverse it altogether. For further information, visit the NFB website at: www.nfb.org
    American Foundation for the Blind helps companies to make their websites accessible
    AFB’s new Accessibility Assurance™ Program (AAP). Created by AFB Consulting, the AAP enables any company or organization to make its web site(s) more accessible to people with disabilities. The unique approach of the program helps organizations demonstrate their corporate values, better serve their user community, and provide a constructive channel for converting user feedback (or complaints) into accessibility solutions. For further information contact www.afb.net

    The WBU-AP Quadrennium Plan of Action 2009 – 2012
    The Quadrennial Action Plan for the WBU – AP Region was adopted at their Joint Board and Policy Council meeting in November 2008. The following summarizes the Plan as described by Secretary General Ivan Ho Tuck Choy in the latest issue of Eastwind, the WBU-AP newsletter.

    The Plan of Action basically aims to achieve three objectives:

    a) The strengthening of the weaker organizations to better serve their blind members through the exchange of information and the giving of encouragement and support
    b) The setting up of National Task Forces in countries that have not already done so to lobby their governments to implement the WBU-ICEVI Initiative "Education For All Vision-Impaired Children" by 2015
    c) The strengthening of WBU-AP itself by establishing more permanent structures and by encouraging the more developed organizations to assume more responsibilities in making this organization a stronger and resilient regional body that can speak and act on issues affecting blind people; thus, contributing to building a strong and respectable World Blind Union (WBU)

    Specific planned activities include the following:
    1. Appoint a Liaison Officer
    2. Partnering with Another Organization
    3. Strengthening the Fund-Raising Capacity of Organizations
    4. Program Exchange
    5. Education For All Vision-Impaired Children
    6. Assist Weaker Organizations with Basic Items
    7. Setting up Committees to Implement Priorities of WBU-AP. The Board has set up three committees: (a) The Resource Generation Committee, (b) Committee on ICT and Assistive Technologies, (c) The Employment and Economic Empowerment Committee.
    8. Strengthening the WBUAP Secretariat and Setting Up an Accessible Website
    Historical Workshop in Papua New Guinea
    By Dr. Kevin Murfitt, WBU-AP Treasurer

    Late in 2008, Papua New Guinea’s Blind Union (PNG-BU) held their first national elections during a five day workshop in Garoka. The 30 participants, all of whom are blind or have low vision, elected a nationally representative Board comprising of 5 men and 4 women.

    During the five day interactive workshop, participants swapped stories about their struggles and achievements as people living with blindness in PNG, developed skills in leadership, advocacy, fund-raising, operating a committee, accountability, media presentations, ethics, and strategic planning.

    The workshop was sponsored by the Danish Association for the Blind (DAB) and Vision Australia. Other contributors were the PNG Department of Community Services, and local corporate sponsors.

    As PNG implements its inclusive education policy, a strong PNG-BU will be an important advocacy and reference point for the rights of people who are blind or have low vision. This historic election also now enables PNG-BU to apply for full membership of WBU. Blind Citizens Australia has kindly offered to pay their initial membership fee.


    The following report is summarized from an extensive report provided by Regional President Ahmed Allouzi from Jordan which describes the work underway in the Asian Blind Union during this quadrennium. We are happy to provide readers with a full copy of that report upon request.
    Women’s Program
    A women's human rights framework equips women with a way to define, analyze, and articulate their experiences of violence, degradation, and marginality. And very importantly, the idea of women's human rights provides a common framework for developing a vast array of plans and concrete strategies for change. Women have the right to live, learn, and to work. By addressing the following topics the region will focus on human rights for blind women and will teach them some skills and techniques.
    1. Introducing women’s right: Demonstrating the relevance of the CRPD and CEDAW to blind and visually impaired women and how to work with these documents at the national level. How can we, locally and nationally, create awareness of women’s rights, the rights of women with disabilities and find ways to claim these rights?
    2. Employment and financial independence: through self employment, access to micro loans and micro finances; How to create a business plan for duo-jobs, tele-jobs, part-time jobs, home based enterprises and self employment?
    3. How can women get rehabilitation and vocational training skills for obtaining, and keeping a good job?
    4. How to create a financial plan, how to access resources, how to approach donors and foundations for self employment?
    5. How to get access to health care service concerning HIV/AIDS information and programs, as well as other women’s health care programs? What information and assistance do we need and where can we access that?
    6. What do we mean by self-determination, informed consent on any action concerning women’s reproductive rights and health? How can we get information on fertility, right to parenthood, family planning information and contraceptives? What kind of support do we need as mothers?
    7. How can the educational system best provide information on sexual and reproductive rights and body functions to our adolescents? How could the information be presented in the best way? How can we get blind girls to become informed young women who can exercise their rights?
    8. Advocacy and capacity building of women: how to promote leadership and make women’s voices heard in our organizations and in society. How can we build capacity among women, at the local, regional, and national level? How do we restart the Women’s Committee in our regions or to replace it with something else that works? What should it be if not a committee?
    9. Psycho-Social care: This includes heightening awareness of the importance of women in society. How blind woman can cast their fears aside, how woman can communicate with society and the outside world, and how can she be empowered to make her own decisions?
    10. Woman and work: This important topic involves; proving women’s capabilities as workers; helping women make the best career choices; and teaching specific life skills that will assist with employment.
    11. Family care: This includes the skills for caring for children, husband and other family members; women should know the right they can expect from their family and their right towards the family.

    Women’s Social affairs
    This program provides financial support to needy blind women for education, self-employment, medical treatment, home repairs and social rehabilitation through: Basic counseling, domiciliary services and referral services to clients with educational, marital, legal and family problems; Educational Scholarships given to visually impaired girls; Sponsorships to blind girls for computer training, sports and excursions; Short term training programs and competitions; Pre- marital counseling workshop for visually impaired girls; Training programs in some handicrafts; Medical camps and health care programs.
    Expected Results from the Women’s Program
    We think that by addressing the above mentioned topics throughout our ABU region, our women members will become much better educated and rehabilitated. Following the training, women will become more active and empowered to taking decisions, talking about and defending their rights. She will have more opportunities to succeed in her work, to assume leadership positions, become successful in business. She will be more knowledgeable and she will thus achieve more. Finally, woman will be empowered to achieve what sighted woman do.
    Children’s Program
    A comprehensive discussion of the needs of blind children are included in the more detailed report provided by Mr. Allouzi. Please contact the WBU office for a copy of this.

    To achieve their objectives, some of the following initiatives are planned:
    Pre-school Program
     Compensatory skills (example: Braille, listening skills, handwriting skills; abacus).
     Orientation and mobility (travel skills)
     Social interaction skills
     Independent living skills and personal management
     Recreation and leisure
     Career and vocational education
     Assistive technology
     Visual efficiency skills
    Core Educational Program
    To provide students placed in the campus - based program with a comprehensive curriculum and instruction from preschool to 12th grade that includes vocational education, extracurricular activities, social education, and support services comparable to educational opportunities afforded to non-disabled children.
    Employability and Transition
    To provide students, through the age of 21, with life skills training, vocational education, and guidance and counseling which will enable them to make appropriate choices regarding vocational and post-secondary goals; to help students develop fundamental employment skills and independent living skills necessary to function as self-supporting members of their communities.
    Social Development Program
    In every part of the world, blind people are amongst the poorest of the poor. Only a multi-sectoral approach to poverty reduction can change this; nothing less than a comprehensive and coherent strategy, country by country, for the socio-economic integration of blind people. The following strategies can contribute to advancing opportunities for blind and partially sighted persons.
    1. Building Human Rights Culture and Advocacy initiatives: blind people must be skilled in the methods of advocacy and understand the issues of importance to blind people. However, ABU should assist with relevant training and to advise in policy development.
    2. Employment workshops: Elimination of all forms of discrimination against blind people and people with disabilities in employment. However, an introduction of blindness-related issues into the general framework of economic and social regulations including regulations on access to information and on standards for workplace adjustment is very important. Blind persons should also be taught some job preparation skills such as interviewing techniques, job search and so forth.
    3. Daily living Skills: including Orientation & mobility, writing and technology skills.
    4. Access to Technology Training courses: Computers, Maintenance, etc.
    5. Social Inclusion: This will come through some workshops to raise the awareness of blind persons in society and changing what it means to be a blind.
    6. Strengthening organizations of blind people: The most important task of the ABU is to establish and strengthen organizations of blind people everywhere in the Asia region. Such organizations empower blind people and give them a strong and united voice in public affairs. Each organization has a dual role to play: strengthening of all the elements of poverty reduction enumerated in this topic and, on the other hand, to promote advocacy and skills development for blind people. One of the programs of the ABU is to build the capacity of these organizations. In the coming years, it is important to access this level of strengthening the ABU organizations which will help make them a resource center for the blind.
    7. Promoting literacy and skills development: Learning Braille and acquiring independence and job-related skills give dignity to blind people and enable them to act on their own behalf and participate meaningfully in economic life.

    Ms. Maryanne Diamond, President
    Mr. Arnt Holte, 1st Vice President
    Ms. Frances Candiru, 2nd Vice President
    Mr. Enrique Pérez, Secretary General
    Mr. A. K. Mittal, Treasurer
    Mr. William Rowland, Immediate Past President


    Mr. Mohammed Ez-zaoui
    ASIA (ABU)
    Mr. Ahmad Mohammed Mousa Allouzi
    Mr. Chuji Sashida
    Lord Colin Low
    Dr. Guillermo Moreno
    Mr. Carl Augusto


    Dr. Penny Hartin, Chief Executive Officer
    Ms. Ianina Rodriguez, Administrative Assistant