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  • Rabu, 10 Agustus 2011

    WBU E-BULLETIN, VOLUME 5, ISSUE 3, July 2011


    AFRICA 24
    2011 CONFERENCE 24
    ASIA 24
    EUROPE 26
    (COLIN LOW) 26
    IN BRAZIL 27
    PAY OFF 30
    WBU STAFF 31

    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 stories and contributions from all regions. Our next deadline for content submission is Friday, October 7, 2011 for our autumn issue of the e-Bulletin. We gladly accept submissions in English, French, and Spanish, preferably in electronic format. Please send your submissions to Marianne McQuillan at Marianne.mcquillan@wbuoffice.org

    By Maryanne Diamond
    It has been a busy few months with much taking place at the international level on disability which impacts on the lives of those of us who are blind or partially sighted and those working in this field.

    You will read about the release of the WHO World report on disability, the 5th Africa Forum, update on our employment initiative and our work to achieve a treaty with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) to name a few.

    It is with great sadness we heard the news that our founding president SHEIKH ABDULLAH AL-GHANIM, passed away on 4 July, 2011. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time. An article prepared by our past president, Euclid Herie, can be found in this issue.

    We say goodbye to one of our Regional Presidents, Chuji Sashida, who has held the position of WBU-AP Regional President since 2008. Due to poor health Chuji has decided to stand aside from this role and focus on getting well. We wish Chuji a good recovery and look forward to his involvement in our movement sometime in the future. Dato Kulasegaran of Malaysia, former VP of the region, has taken on the role of President for the remainder of the term. We welcome Kula to our team and look forward to working with him moving forward.

    I urge you to obtain a copy of the WBU 2010 Annual report as it is a good summary of our achievements during 2010 and shows our progress against our strategic plan for the term. Copies can be downloaded from the WBU website.

    I trust you will find the material contained in this issue informative and interesting.


    The World Blind Union in order to inform and educate our members produces two main communications devices: this newsletter – produced four times a year and a more frequent shorter piece that goes out approximately every 2 weeks (usually twice a month). We have been calling the bi-weekly document our e-notice and the quarterly newsletter has been known as the E-Bulletin. In order to avoid confusion we seek to create a new name (identity) for this quarterly newsletter, and for this we need your help. We are looking for a new name to replace “E-Bulletin” for the quarterly newsletter.

    Please send your unique ideas to: Marianne.mcquillan@wbuoffice.org. All entries will be submitted to the Table Officers for selection. We will feature a story about the creative individual and give a nominal prize of $100 USD to the person who submits the winning name. This new name will be launched with our first newsletter of 2012.

    It is with regret that we have to inform you of the resignation of Asia-Pacific President Chuji Sashida of Japan. He stepped down for health and personal reasons. Taking over in his place will be Dato Kulasegaran of Malaysia, former VP of the WBU Asia Pacific region. We thank Chuji for his years of dedication and support and wish him a speedy recovery to good health. We congratulate Kula on his new position and welcome his valued contributions.

    Alimata is the new Executive Director of the Africa Union of the Blind (AFUB). Alimata is replacing Nadia Gouy who is moving back to Morocco to accept a position with the Public Service there. Prior to assuming her new position with AFUB, Alimata was coordinating the WBU CRPD research project in Africa in conjunction with AFUB. We welcome Alimata to the WBU family and wish her all the best in her new position.

    TRIBUTE TO THE 1ST WBU PRESIDENT - Sheikh Abdullah Al-Ghanim Remembered.
    By Euclid Herie CM, Past President, World Blind Union

    At the recent Africa Forum in Accra, Ghana, we learned that Sheikh Abdullah Al-Ghanim had died on July 4, 2011. I was pleased when asked to write this Obituary for Abdullah on behalf of the World Blind Union. I confess that on reflection this has proven a daunting challenge given that thousands upon thousands of blind members personally knew Abdullah in person and millions of others in countless countries were touched in one way or another through his leadership, influence and at times, his personal generosity.

    Of the seven WBU Presidents, Sheikh Abdullah is the first to make that "final crossing" into immortality however expressed and understood in his Faith or Religion. We as individuals and collectively as a community of the Blind of the World mourn his passing; feel deeply a sense of true loss; and join our hands to encircle the world to offer condolences and support to the Al-Ghanim family in their time of loss and grief. We are comforted to learn that his family plan to publish a biography on Abdullah's life and accomplishments on a dedicated web site.

    On a more personal note I have reflected daily since learning of Abdullah's death attempting to bring into clear focus precisely what our relationship meant to me. Was it Abdullah an Arab man from Saudi Arabia? Was it Abdullah as the Founding President of the WBU? Or, was it Abdullah whom I came to know as a loyal friend and our numerous journeys traveled over the 20 more years in our work within the WBU and the fun times we shared? Perhaps it is the 3rd question that strikes more closely as how best to remember Abdullah Al-Ghanim?

    Geoff Gibbs, former WBU Treasurer, points to “Abdullah's charismatic and strong presence particularly when he spoke in Arabic”. David Blyth, also a WBU Past President, remembers Abdullah from the Founding Assembly in Riyadh in 1984. David played a key role at that Assembly as Chair of the Constitutional Committee. “Without Abdullah, I doubt the WBU would have been born. He brought good will to those present and embodied the hopes of many, especially persons from the developing World”, wrote David. ‘Abdullah was a good man who loved his fellow man and who did want to make a difference for those who had so little!” A high tribute indeed from David who himself personifies precisely this very same sentiment!

    Abdullah possessed his own style of leadership and was unapologetic when it came to his turn in the Chair during his term as WBU President. He was controversial at times including his wanting to move the WBU closer to cross disability organizations and most definitely when he raised the prospect of serving for a second four-year term as President. Interesting that in both instances we know that in 2011 the WBU is a key player in the International Disability Alliance [IDA]; and the WBU membership fiercely upholds the constitutional provision that a President may serve only one term from any of the six current Regions.

    At the 7th WBU General Assembly in Geneva in August 2008, Abdullah was not able to attend due to ill health. Sadly, he was therefore, not photographed among the then seven living Presidents as the WBU celebrated its 25th silver anniversary. This was doubly true as Abdullah was the Founding President and de facto was entitled to the first chapter in the history as compiled by Sir John Wall that each of us contributed to as well.

    Those who attended the Assemblies in Madrid, Cairo and Toronto knew Sheikh Abdullah enjoyed popularity and a large presence. In my term, he chaired the first regional meeting in the Middle East in Amman, Jordan, hosted by his Highness Prince Raad, where the first woman was elected to the new regional Board for Asia. All these and untold other shared personal experiences forged an enduring and fond friendship between us.

    From 1984 in Riyadh until this past July 4th, we traveled the same path to freedom and security for the blind in every member country; we embodied their hopes and dreams; we gave our energies and abilities to the fullest; and more often than not, just simply enjoyed happy times together. That Abdullah is who we most want to cherish and retain from our time together, from your passion and vision, whether in controversy or agreement; you were respected and now "Remembered!"

    From your fallen hand is passed the torch of Office to your successor Presidents, current and future. May they remain loyal to your founding contribution, to the values and work of the WBU and ever remain aware of the responsibilities of that High Office confided with trust by our peers whom we are elected to serve!

    May you "rest in peace old friend" with the gratitude and quiet respect of we, the blind and visually impaired, in our hundreds of millions.

    For further information, please visit the IDP website at: www.wbu-idp.org. This conference was a huge success with almost 400 participants in attendance at the five day forum.

    Africans with Albinism
    At the Forum this year was the largest gathering to date of Africans with Albinism, including Tanzania Member of Parliament (MP), the Honourable Al-Shaymaa J. Kwegyir. She spoke at the Forum of the struggles faced by albinos like her. Ms. Al-Shaymaa said she often fills her car with bottles of sun block to distribute among people with albinism in her country and educate them on the importance of protecting their skin, which lacks melatonin. Melatonin is the protective agent in the skin that without it makes them vulnerable to developing skin cancer and dying prematurely. Albinism is more prevalent in East Africa with estimates of 1 in 2,000 people being affected, whereas, the ratio in the rest of the world is more like 1 in 20,000.

    People with albinism are also prone to eye problems in various degrees, many are legally blind and/or have low vision, and need access to low vision clinics to get prescription lenses and low vision devices. Recently a team of experts lead by Dr. Rebecca Kammer of the Southern California College of Optometry went to Tanzania to conduct a low vision clinic. It ran from June 19 to July 3, sponsored by the international development organization ‘Under the Same Sun’. Dr. Kammer distributed hundreds of eyeglasses at no costs to children with Albinism. This simple step is so important as it will help them see possibly well enough to attend school and get an education.

    At the Forum there was a session to educate the public on albinism, dispelling misconceptions that are dangerous to those who live with the condition. Many albinos in several African countries have been victimized by those in society who still harbour old beliefs like people with albinism have magical powers and so to gain and use the body parts of albinos will make one rich. Lies like this have lead to many people with albinism being killed by witchdoctors who perpetuate these misguided beliefs and profit from it. More can be learned about the work to educate and help others learn how to support people with albinism at: http://www.underthesamesun.com/aboututss

    RNIB’s TechShare Launched at Forum
    TechShare - the largest exhibition and training on assistive technology was set up at the conference in Ghana, giving participants the opportunity to test out various kinds of Braille printing equipment, screen readers and other technological breakthroughs. Such extensive sharing of high-tech solutions for the visually impaired provides transformational opportunities for education, rehabilitation and more productive living through the range of available technology. Many corporations were on hand to demonstrate their products like, Microsoft, Humanware, Dolphin, and Index Braille. Thanks to all the companies who shared their knowledge through TechShare.

    Creation of the Ghana Braille Authority
    Braille standards need to be established in Africa so that people can rely on the materials being produced in Braille for their knowledge and education. For most blind people, reading Braille is the key to further education. The creation of the Ghana Braille Authority will play a vital role in setting common rules for the use of Braille in Ghana and serve as a model for other countries. This will advance literacy and education standards for all of Africa. The WBU’s World Braille Council will offer support to maintain this important initiative.

    By Chris Friend, WBU Strategic Objective Leader - Accessibility Chair WBU Global Right to Read Campaign

    As WBU members would know, even in 2011, people living with a print disability still have very limited access to books and other published works. Only some 5% of published books are ever made accessible in richer countries, and less than 1% in poorer ones. We call this a “book famine”, and have sought to have this rectified by submitting a treaty to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) who make treaties and other international laws on intellectual property rights such as copyright and patents. Essentially the World Blind Union, assisted by copyright experts, drafted the treaty proposal. The governments of Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay and Mexico then tabled it at WIPO in 2009.

    The WBU treaty proposal would:
     Make it legal for print disabled individuals and specialist organisations to make accessible copies of published works in all countries which sign the treaty
     Make it legal for accessible books to be sent internationally without permission for publishers
     Prevent contracts with publishers from undermining copyright exceptions for print disabled people (currently they sometimes do)
     Still respect copyright law: we want to work cooperatively with publishers

    Ever since then WBU’s working group on the Right to Read has been following up and attending WIPO and other meetings on behalf of our members to move this treaty along. The following is an update from Chris Friend who with Maryanne Diamond, recently attended WIPO meetings in June.

    WIPO's Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) meets normally for one week, twice a year. However, at this last scheduled meeting was extended by an additional three days to allow time for a detailed examination of four proposals tabled to solve the book famine.

    As you may know from previous WIPO updates, we drafted a treaty which was then tabled at the SCCR meetings. This was followed by the US Government and the European Union tabling two separate non-binding recommendations or consensus instruments and finally the African group of delegates tabled a complicated Treaty Proposal embracing education, libraries, research and the disabled based on the WBU Treaty to a great extent and expanded.

    Two years of talking about the problem from outside the actual proposal texts evidenced the opposition to any Treaty based on lobbying of government delegations, the US and EU in particular but eventually last November our proponents in Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay and Mexico succeeded in persuading SCCR to go forward to a specific work plan and timetable, separating out the WBU Treaty for a fast track examination alongside the other three in June and the other issues in the Africa treaty to follow in November. Also we have managed to restrict the WBU treaty as designed specifically around the copyright issues affecting the Visually Impaired and Print Disabled and all other disability issues such as sign language and subtitles for the deaf and other movie related issues for example, to be included in the second Treaty.

    WBU’s objective is to win as much of our own design in the four proposal examination and to persuade the meeting that to achieve the text, a binding Treaty is really needed now. This would prevent a very long drawn-out process favored by United States and European Union with one of their non-binding texts being put out for a test which would then take at least three or four years to give sufficient time to see if they worked. Followed by commissioning a report (which means 18 months to gather info and write), followed by waiting for a slot at the bi-annual SCCR Meetings to present the Report, followed by probably another two years to get the treaty initiative to get back to the top of the SCCR agenda and then probably two or three years to go through the process all over again. None of us want to wait another 10 years to achieve the ability to gain access to books and other published works! This would be catastrophic for so many who value their right to read.

    So we had with us in Geneva a very high powered WBU Delegation led by President Maryanne Diamond, supported by the Right to Read global team and 12 experienced VIP leaders from all geographic regions all who are working to further our position and make WIPO understand what is at stake for millions of people worldwide who are waiting for the book famine to end.

    There was great progress made at the meeting. The new draft text developed replacing the previous four texts provide the Committee with a good basis for completing its work on a treaty. We are hopeful that at the November 2011 meeting the text will be finalised and there will be agreement on the type of instrument. WBU will be there to provide advice and support to the committee urging them to agree on a treaty and call for a diplomatic conference to bring this into law. We will keep our members posted and provide the next update in early 2012.

    By William Rowland - Past President, WBU

    9 JUNE 2011, NEW YORK – The World Health Organization and the World Bank have revealed new global estimates that more than one billion people experience some form of disability. They urged governments to step up efforts to enable access to mainstream services and to invest in specialized programmes to unlock the vast potential of people with disabilities.

    The first-ever World Report on Disability provides the first global estimates of persons with disabilities in 40 years and an overview of the status of disability in the world. New research shows that almost one-fifth of the estimated global total of persons living with disabilities (between 110-190 million) encounter significant difficulties that affect their quality of life.

    The report stresses that few countries have adequate mechanisms in place to respond to the needs of people with disabilities. Barriers include stigma and discrimination, lack of adequate health care and rehabilitation services; and inaccessible transport, buildings and information and communication technologies. As a result, people with disabilities experience poorer health, lower educational achievements, fewer economic opportunities and higher rates of poverty than people without disabilities.

    "Disability is part of the human condition," says WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan, "Almost every one of us will be permanently or temporarily disabled at some point in life. We must do more to break the barriers which segregate people with disabilities, in many cases forcing them to the margins of society."

    “Addressing the health, education, employment, and other development needs of people living with disabilities is fundamental to achieving the Millennium Development Goals," says Robert B. Zoellick, President of The World Bank Group. “We need to help people with disabilities to gain equitable access to opportunities to participate and contribute to their communities. They have much to offer if given a fair chance to do so.”

    Key findings and recommendations:
    The report shows that people with disabilities are more than twice as likely to find healthcare provider skills inadequate to meet their needs, and nearly three times more likely to report being denied needed health care. In low-income countries people with disabilities are 50% more likely to experience catastrophic health expenditure than non-disabled people. Children with disabilities are less likely to start school than non-disabled children and have lower rates of staying in school. In Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, the employment rate of people with disabilities (44%) is slightly over half that for people without disabilities (75%).

    The report recommends that governments and their development partners provide people with disabilities access to all mainstream services, invest in specific programmes and services for those people with disabilities who are in need, and adopt a national disability strategy and plan of action. In addition, governments should work to increase public awareness and understanding of disability, and support further research and training in the area. Importantly, people with disabilities should be consulted and involved in the design and implementation of these efforts.

    The report highlights a number of approaches used by countries worldwide to enable people with disabilities to access services, infrastructure, information and jobs.

    Nearly 150 countries and regional organizations have signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and over 100 have ratified it, committing them to removing barriers so that people with disabilities may participate fully in their societies. The World Report on Disability, developed with contributions from over 380 experts, will be a key resource for countries implementing the CRPD. The World Blind Union was represented at the launch event by its Immediate Past President, Dr William Rowland.

    We are pleased to advise that the Employment Resource Bank project is underway, thanks to the support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation. World Blind Union, in collaboration with CNIB, will create the first dedicated central repository of employment tools, resources and discussion groups targeted to people who are blind and partially sighted, employers, and organizations of and for the blind and partially sighted.

    The Development Phase of this project is now active, with staffing dedicated to conducting a thorough and detailed scan of existing employment tools and resources currently available around the world. Jacinta Haryett, an experienced employment counsellor with CNIB has undertaken the scan, and is compiling results into a report which will include a comprehensive list of available resources, their potential benefits, current accessibility, and language options. Resources will be categorized, gaps will be identified, and recommendations will be made. Your support of this phase of the project is essential and valued; please respond positively to Jacinta if you are contacted to provide information or resources. Please also feel free to initiate contact with Jacinta at: Jacinta.haryett@cnib.ca

    Upon completion of the scan, and upon receipt of the report, a framework will be developed for placement of resources on the WBU website. Next, a testing and modification phase will be implemented to ensure that the site is fully accessible, user-friendly, intuitive, and contains the information necessary to meet the goals of the project. Finally, the site will be fully launched and made available world-wide. This exciting project is an innovative approach to resolving the well-documented challenge of high unemployment rates among persons who are blind or partially sighted, and we can all be proud to be a part of it.

    Case Studies for the Employment Initiative
    We continue to collect case studies of individual blind and partially sighted persons in different employment situations as well as examples of models of employment programs for the Employment Resource Bank program that will be launched on the WBU website in 2012. We welcome your input. You may find the guidelines on the WBU website at: http://www.worldblindunion.org/en/our-work/campaigns/Pages/default.aspx

    Dragon Boat racing team results report by Grace Chan

    The Hong Kong Blind Sport Association (HKBSA) has been active since April, 2008 with a mission to promote equal participation and sports for all. Through professional training courses and recreational social events like marathons, bowling, golf, dragon boat paddling, swimming and blind football. We are happy to see our blind athletes regain confidence, become socially active and live an independent life. Our blind athletes have positively changed from being passive to being very energetic in life. Today, we have blind runners’ complete full marathons within four hours, half marathons within two hours and 10K marathons in less than an hour.

    In 2008, our blind swimmers together with sighted swimmer broke the Guinness World Record by assembling the most participants (254) in completing a swimming relay within an hour. Our blind golfers and bowling players won various awards in Hong Kong and Malaysia’s Friendly Matches. They also participated in many other international events such as the Beijing International Marathon, the Standard Chartered Hong Kong and Kula Lumpur Marathon widening their horizons to a great extent.

    HKBSA began Dragon Boat training in February 2010, thanks to the immense support from our coaches; Mr. Hou Chi Fai, Vice-Chairman of Stanley Dragon Boat Association, Mr. Jacky So and Mr. Kwok Ka Ming. Our team participated in Shatin Dragon Boat Race, Stanley Dragon Boat Short Course Race and the 2010 Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Race. To our pleasant surprise, our Dragon Boat Team won the championship in the 2010 Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Adaptive Paddling Invitational Race and the second runner up in the 2010 Hong Kong Sa Sa Mixed International Championship Silver Bowl Final! It was indeed a great encouragement to and achievement by our visually impaired athletes.

    This year HKBSA was faced with a new group of challengers, the Guangzhou Jiang Men Brothers. In the first round of the competition, HKBSA did not achieve the ranking we anticipated, finishing third. However we did not lose faith. Our team was filled with only positive energy, eager to make a comeback in the second round of the competition. With a breaking new record of a minute and ten seconds, better than last year, HKBSA’s energy and perseverance won them the Silver trophy in the end. Although we did not win the gold trophy, our team in fact was the champion of Hong Kong! Our team will never give up and will only cherish the experience, wonderful memories and friendship that will never be forgotten.

    “The Spirit, the will to win, and the will to excel are the things that endure. These qualities are so much more important than the events that occur” (Vince Lombardi). Although we didn’t win first place this year, our team won in sprit. The team was enlightened to a whole new lesson in life, they learned to appreciate one another, to appreciate what they already have, and learned not just more about the sport but also life lessons that only this kind of experience can provide.

    Our Dragon Boat Team was a combination of athletes with and without visual impairment. Through this experience members learned to acknowledge the need to depend on one another and appreciate the existence of one another. The team learned to work in harmony. Members that are visually impaired not only become more socially active and physically healthy but also see the world differently, look at things with a different perspective. “The human spirit is never finished when it’s defeated; it is finished when it surrenders” (Ben Stein). Our team’s soul and sprit will never ever surrender but only grow stronger and become remarkable! You can learn more about our programs by visiting our website, the Hong Kong Blind Sports Association at: http://www.hkbsa.hk/en/index.asp?bianhao=2

    As WBU readers may know, BWB works in Lhasa, Tibet, and their sister organization, the International Institute for Social Entrepreneurs (IISE), works in Kerala, India. BWB educates blind students, providing Braille materials to further their knowledge and lead them to higher levels of education. The IISE program was created to teach students essential skills in entrepreneurship so they learn the importance of being innovative, how to make business plans, understanding finance and ways to market their products or ideas, and develop public speaking skills to increase their ability to reach out into the world and implement lasting change. Both programs are progressing with new opportunities and are being recognized for their excellent work.

    The BWB work in Tibet is running well and several renovation projects are underway. A Chinese company that makes solar hot water systems plans to donate several of their products to the school in Lhasa and to the farm in Shigatse. This will help them to integrate environmentally friendly measures into the program and the students will enjoy their hot showers. A five star hotel opened its doors in Lhasa; the St Regis. Since then they have been purchasing 'Tibet Mountain Cheese' and the different kinds of 'Tibetino cheeses' that are produced on the BWB cheese farm in Shigatse. At the moment BWB is looking at ways how to further market the cheeses in order to create more sustainable income generation. This summer a Chinese marketing specialist will come to the farm to help with this process. She will also look at how to best market the other products that are being produced at the farm: bread, vegetables, knitted items and carpets.

    A recognition was given to the IISE in the form of an award from INCITE, (International Centre for Intellectual Training & Empowerment). It was the 'Incite Excellence Award in Social Entrepreneurship 2011'. One of the board members of this organization is Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, former President of India.

    Lastly, there has been a change in the duration of the IISE course. From July 2012 onward the duration of the IISE course will be 7 months instead of 11 months. If you know a potential candidate, please ask them to check out the website and apply: www.bwb-iise.org/apply

    An extraordinary destiny
    Louis Braille was born on January 4th, 1809 in his family’s house in Coupvray, in Seine-et-Marne, France. He was baptised in Saint-Peter’s church the local parish church on January 8th. He went blind at the age of 5; however Louis entered Coupvray’s primary school at age 6 where he proved to be an “attentive, thoughtful and very clever pupil”. At age 10 he entered the Royal Institution of the Young Blind, where he proved to be a brilliant student in all subjects (intellectual as well as manual works, and music), and later he became a unanimously respected and admired teacher. Louis learned to read and write with the technique set up by Valentin Haüy which was a system of raised lettering, and in 1821, he tried Charles Barbier de la Serre’s sonography system. Dissatisfied with those systems, Louis worked to create a new simplified method, and in 1825, he introduced his reading and writing system for the blind, which today is know as the Braille system.

    Light for the blind
    So as not to steal a single minute from his homework time, Louis Braille did his own research work during his spare time. He worked at night or during his vacation and he set up his raised-dot system before 16 years-old. The Braille alphabet is very simple as it is based on the combination of 6 dots placed in a rectangle. Braille also adapted his system to mathematics and music. In order to write, one embosses paper with a style, reverse side, from right to left. Then the writing, which looks like a series of raised dots is read right side from left to right. Thanks to Louis Braille, blind people could now read and write and gain the same level of literacy as sighted students. This also gave the blind access to knowledge and culture, as Braille is a way to represent the alphabet letters that can be used in many languages.

    The family house, now a museum
    Louis Braille’s native house, in lower Coupvray, is a massive country house from the 18th century. His family consisted of his father Simon-René Braille, a master saddler and harness maker, known for his fine leather goods for horses, his mother Monique, and their four children including Louis, who was the youngest. For more than a century, the Braille family had been saddlers passing on the craft from father to son. Some of the saddler’s furniture and tools still can be seen in the workshop, including a workbench, collar-making tool, sewing pliers, and branding iron. Young Louis lost sight while playing with a sharp tool in his father’s workshop. This changed the direction of his life as Louis would no longer be able to apprentice as a saddler.

    Although his studies took him far away from his home, Louis Braille always maintained a deep affection for his native village. When Louis was ill, he would return to Coupvray to rest. Family mementos as well as documents and objects connected with the invention of the writing for the blind remain in the rooms Louis would use when at home. Louis Braille died from tuberculosis on 6th January 1852, at the age of 43, and was buried in the Coupvray cemetery. However, in tribute to his great contribution to humanity, on June 22nd, 1952, his ashes were solemnly transferred to the Panthéon in Paris. In 1956, the Braille family house was converted into a museum and open to the public. As a municipal museum, Louis Braille’s native house is now managed by the French Louis Braille Committee and the World Blind Union.

    A visit to the Louis Braille Museum in Coupvray
    The village of Coupvray is 35 KMS east of Paris and can be accessed by car or rail. Near Euro-Disney, the village is known for its castle ruins and walking trails as well as being the birthplace of Louis Braille.

    The commemorative monument
    A commemorative monument was set up in 1887 thanks to international support of the “grateful blind people” of the world. It was made by sculptor Etienne Leroux, and represents Louis Braille wearing the uniform of the Royal Institution of the Young Blind.

    The village cemetery
    From the Saint-Peter’s church walk up to the cemetery along the washhouse called “Lavoir des Médisances”. Louis Braille was buried on 10th January 1852 in Coupvray’s small cemetery where already rested his father and his sister Marie.

    How to get there from Paris
     Motorway A4, exit 14 (Disney-Paris/Coupvray)
     By train from Gare de l’Est (the Meaux line) to Esbly, then taxi or bus to Coupvray
     By suburban train RER A to Marne-la-Vallée-Chessy, then taxi or bus to Coupvray

    Museum hours:
    Summer schedule (1st April – 30th September)
    Open daily, except on Monday, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and from 02:00 p.m. to 06:00 p.m.
    Visits start at: 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 02:00 p.m., 03:00 p.m., 04:00 p.m. and 05:00 p.m. (Duration of the tour: 1 hour).

    Winter schedule (1st October – 31st March)
    Open daily from 02:00 p.m. to 05:00 p.m., except on Monday.
    Group visits on Friday only, by appointment.
    Visits start at: 02:00 p.m., 03:00 p.m. and 04:00 p.m. (Duration of the tour: 1 hour)

    The museum is closed on 1st January, 1st May and 25th December

    Admission Fees:
    Individual: 5 €
    Group (more than 10 people):4 € per person
    Children under 10: free
    Schools: 3 € per pupil

    To arrange for group visits and for all other information, contact:
    Musée Louis Braille, Maison natale
    13, rue Louis Braille, 77 700 Coupvray
    Tél. fax : +33 (0)1 60 04 82 80 musee.louisbraille@faf.asso.fr

    International Conference on Braille: Braille21
    Registration is now open for Braille21, focused on innovations in Braille organized by the WBU World Braille Council and the German Central Library for the Blind. The conference will take place in Leipzig Germany from September 27 – 30th. For more information please visit www.braille21.net

    WBU Contest for White Cane Day – Develop the Theme
    As announced at the Africa Forum there is a contest to create the theme for this year’s White Cane Day – October 15th. Members are invited to think about what this day means to them and share a theme and messaging that would be used by WBU and its members to promote White Cane Day to the media and the public. The deadline for all applicants is Friday August 26th, 2011. Send your themes/ideas to: Marianne.mcquillan@wbuoffice.org

    All themes will be submitted to the WCD panel for consideration, and there is a reward for your creativity. A nominal prize of $100 USD will be granted to those who submitted the winning theme. We will send out information on the winning theme in early September so that members have the opportunity to get the message out to their local media for October.

    WBU Scholarship Application – Still Open
    This is a reminder that we are still accepting applications for one of our scholarship funds for 2011. The Hermoine Grant Calhoun Scholarship fund for blind and partially sighted women and girls – applications are still open for this scholarship. Remember, limited funds are available. You can find the guidelines and application forms for this scholarship on the WBU website at the following link: http://www.worldblindunion.org/en/resources/scholarships/Pages/default.aspx.

    WBU’s 8th General Assembly Planning Underway
    Planning is already underway for the WBU 8th General Assembly which will be held in Bangkok, Thailand in November of 2012. This will be an expanded event as ICEVI will be participating. Both organizations will hold their own General Assemblies, and programs will be organized in such a way as to allow two days of overlapping sessions that would be of interest to both WBU and ICEVI members and which will enable networking and sharing of information and expertise between the two organizations. We will have a joint organizing committee and joint program committee as well as a common registration process. Please watch the newsletter for updates as the planning progresses. We will also alert our members of a WBU GA website link for more information and to register once this has been set up.

    National Braille Press Award
    The National Braille Press is now accepting nominations for their Prize for Genius innovation award. Amount to be won $20,000 US dollars. To learn more about this and to apply click here: http://www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/programs/tog/tog_prize

    Hadley New Courses Information
    The Hadley School for the Blind’s Forsythe Center for Entrepreneurship recently announced seven new study modules to teach visually impaired entrepreneurs how to start and run their businesses successfully. These modules include Market Research, Marketing Plan, Financial Plan, Business Plan, Business Insurance, Forms of Ownership and Veterans’ Benefits.

    Over the next several years, Hadley is planning to release approximately 50 modules. In addition, visually impaired people can participate in online seminars and discussions about entrepreneurship. Besides the new courses and seminars, Hadley also offers a business directory for visually impaired entrepreneurs to showcase their businesses and connect with other business owners and jumpstart their networking activities.

    For more information, or to register for the new modules and seminars, please visit: http://www.hadley.edu/FCE.

    Launch of the IDA CRPD Newsletter
    The International Disability Alliance will launch a newsletter in September 2011 to provide best practices, share methods and provide a venue for success stories for implementing the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. If your group has stories to share send them to Stefan Tromel Sturmer at: stomel@fundaciononce.es

    Disabled Peoples’ International (DPI) 8th World Assembly
    It will take place from October 10 to 13, 2011 in Durban, South Africa. To learn more and to register for this assembly visit their conference website: http://www.dpi2011.co.za/en/home

    World Ophthalmology Congress 2012
    It is scheduled to take place in Abu Dhabi from February 16 to 20, hosted and organized by the Middle East Council of Ophthalmology. For more information, to submit papers, or to register to go: www.woc2012.org

    IAPB’s 9th General Assembly - September 2012, Hyderabad, India
    The WBU is partnered with the International Association for the Prevention of Blindness through the Vision Alliance (consisting of the 3 international bodies: World Blind Union, ICEVI – International Council for Education for people with Visual Impairment, and the IAPB). Information on IAPB’s next general assembly can be accessed at: http://www.9ga.iapb.org/

    Roadmap Launched to Eliminate Global Blindness
    The International Coalition for Trachoma Control has pulled together a plan with the help of other groups working to eliminate avoidable blindness. The global strategic plan, called 2020 INSight, lays out the actions to take and the milestones to meet in order to achieve their goal of reducing and eventually eliminating trachoma in countries where it still causes blindness. Please share 2020 INSight with your colleagues and global partners. Feel free to post the PDF file on your websites to promote the document and its messages as broadly as you can. The full document can be downloaded at http://www.trachomacoalition.org/node/713 A French version is forthcoming.

    World Health Organization’s World Report on Disability
    This report is the first focus on disability by the UN agency in over 40 years. It updates figures putting the total percentage of disabled persons at 15% of the global population. It also addresses rehabilitation, education and employment issues for the disabled. The full report can be accessed from the UN link: http://www.who.int/disabilities/world_report/2011/en/index.html

    World Blind Union’s 2010 Annual Report
    The 2010 Annual Report shows all the work done last year, what we have achieved and what we are currently focused on. It is available on our website by following this link: http://www.worldblindunion.org/en/our-work/stratplan/Documents/Annual%20Report%202010%20with%20pics%20-Eng.doc. Financial documents are also on the WBU website under “About WBU”.

    Another interesting find from the Africa Forum was learning about Bookshare. Bookshare is the world’s largest online library for individuals with print disabilities and has over 120,000 books (30,000 titles available globally) including bestsellers, children’s books, reference books, classics, fiction and nonfiction direct from publishers. Bookshare has over 140,000 members.

    To learn more and sign up go to: www.bookshare.org. Bookshare is offering a free 60-day membership for WBU members and associates. Use the code “WBU” when signing up. Remember, Bookshare needs your proof of qualifying disability in order to be granted a membership.

    F123.org and the Inter-American Development Bank are Bringing A World of Solutions to Blind People
    (Reprinted from the GPDD newsletter)
    A low-cost screen reading and magnification software solution for those with visual impairments called F123.org is now spreading throughout Latin America thanks to an award from the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB). The F123.org Project, which allows blind and low vision users to navigate the web and edit text documents, spreadsheets, e-mails, and instant messages, is now available in Argentina, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Peru, and Uruguay. The F123.org Software can be installed directly on computers or carried portably in an USB drive (or pen drive). The software opens all of the major file formats used in offices and schools, and can interact with every major messaging network. The system is available in English, Portuguese, and Spanish, and will soon be available in French. Those interested can learn more at http://www.F123.org/en or write to info@F123.org


    AFUB Launched a New Website
    The Africa Union of the Blind (AFUB) now has a new website, and they welcome feedback to ensure it fully serves their members. Please visit the new website at: www.afub-uafa.org. The French part of the site will soon be launched.

    The biggest news from this region was the success of the Africa Forum held at GIMPA in Accra, Ghana, from July 3rd to 8th, 2011. More stories and interviews can be found at: http://www.perkins.org/idp/africa-forum/

    The Association of Blind Citizens of New Zealand’s 2011 Conference
    They are holding Conference a week earlier than usual. It will commence Friday September 30th, concluding Sunday October 2nd. "Building our Future" is this year's theme and speakers and topics will shortly be announced on their website: http://www.abcnz.org.nz/

    ABU General Assembly and Related Events
    It has been decided that the ABU General Assembly will take place in Delhi, India, from February 27th to 29th 2012. Along side the General Assembly, a meeting of the Women’s Forum of ABU and a Regional Conference have also been planned. The theme of the Regional Conference this time is “UNCRPD—Implications and Prospects”. The President, 1st Vice President, Secretary General and CEO of WBU as well as International Director and Programme Director of NABP have given their consent to attend the events. Programme has been finalized for the three events. The Programme Committee will meet shortly to work out detail arrangements. About 90 representatives from 22 countries of our region as well as dignitaries from WBU and NABP would participate. More information will be available on the ABU website in the fall. http://www.abunion.org/

    Training Workshop on Advocacy for Central Asian Countries
    The ABU organized a 3-day workshop that was held at Orbit Resort House, in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on 25th June. The workshop had the following major objectives:

    a) To strengthen the advocacy and leadership skills of leaders of blindness organizations in the participating countries particularly for engaging pro actively with the Government for the protection of rights of persons with disabilities and ratification/implementation of UNCRPD
    b) Ascertaining the existing status of legislative and policy framework in the participating countries in relation to the rights of persons with disabilities in general and blind in particular
    c) Providing a platform to the activists belonging to participating countries to device a concrete strategy in their respective country for ratification/implementation of UNCRPD as the case may be

    Twenty BPS representatives (11-M and 9-F) from three Central Asian Countries—Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan participated. The Chair of the ABU Advocacy Committee, Mr. S.K. Rungta, conducted the workshop with the help of an interpreter and a couple of local resource persons. During the 3-day workshop the following facts were revealed:
    a) Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan have special laws pertaining to persons with disabilities while Kazakhstan does not have such law
    b) All the three participating countries are largely dependent on special schools for the education of the blind and other disabled and inclusive education is yet to be promoted
    c) All the three participating countries have though signed the UNCRPD, but have not yet ratified it
    d) The participating representatives were able to formulate a specific strategy for ensuring ratification of UNCRPD by their respective governments
    e) The process of unifying disability organizations and disability movement should immediately be initiated -the participants agreed
    f) The target of achieving the ratification of UNCRPD was fixed as one year from now

    European Blind Union – 9th General Assembly
    This will take place from October 4 to 8, 2011 in Fredericia, Denmark. To register and to learn more here is the link to their website:

    A message from the EBU President 12.7.2011 (Colin Low)
    Lord Low of Dalston CBE, European Blind Union President
    I would like to warmly thank the 447 Members of the European Parliament who signed the Written Declaration 14/2011 (External link). In doing so, they have highlighted the need for accessible labeling in a most compelling manner. Accessible labeling is one of our major priorities and thanks to the success of the written declaration the issue is now back on the EU agenda. The European Blind Union will continue to work with Members of the European Parliament in order to ensure that blind and partially sighted people get full and equal access to information.

    ONCE’s Involvement with World Youth Day 2011
    ONCE is working to make the World Youth Day Pilgrimage August event accessible to all. The visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Madrid, Spain from August 16th to 20th in celebration of World Youth Day will be unique this year as there is a strong focus to ensure it is an accessible event for those with various physical and sensory disabilities. This is the first time such a target of accessibility has been achieved for this popular religious pilgrimage. Event facilities will be labelled in Braille and the website for the event is in accessible format. There will be training courses for volunteers, teaching them how to assist disabled pilgrims, as they are expecting over 5,000 disabled people to attend this event, many coming from other European countries. To learn more: http://www.once.es/new/sala-de-prensa/notas-de-prensa/la-jmj-sera-accesible-para-los-peregrinos-con

    ULAC – 8th General Assembly Announcement
    There will be 3 events that run from March 11th to 16th, 2012 held in Mexico City. The 5th Women’s Forum will run on March 11 and 12. The 7th Congress will run March 12, 13 and 14 and the theme is: Citizens Participation in Local Development = Total Inclusion. The General Assembly will be on March 15th and 16th with participants from 19 countries of the region and ULAC delegates. All events will be held at the Fiesta Americana Reforma Hotel in Mexico City. A special e-Bulletin series has been created for the upcoming ULAC GA called “Mexico 2012”. More information at www.ulacdigital.org

    Virtual Consulting in Teaching Math
    The Latin American Union of the Blind has launched a virtual consulting to aid in teaching math to visually impaired students. Through ULAC’s Secretariats of Education, Culture and Technology and Access to Information a team of teachers for the blind has been formed, lead by math teacher Juan Jose Della Barca. He will respond to queries received from teachers working with students with visual impairments. To learn more visit their website: http://www.ulacdigital.org/inicio.htm

    ONCB works to improve access to audio description in Brazil
    In a ceremony held in the auditorium of the Human Rights Secretariat of the Presidency 20 June 2011, various ministry departments as well as representatives of various civil society institutions, and dozens of journalists and people with disabilities, met to hear the government’s announcement of the initiation of adding access to audio description of TV programs broadcast in Brazil in compliance in Ordinance No. 188/2010 of the Ministry of Communications. ONCB attended the event represented by Mizael Conrado, two-time Paralympics soccer gold medalist.

    ONCB supports the statement by Minister Maria do Rosario which said that the two hours of weekly programming in audio description amounts to very little. ONCB’s goal is to eventually get all TV broadcasts to be accessible for those with visual impairments. They wish the government will supervise the implementation of Decree 188 by television broadcasters and denounce cases of noncompliance.

    The day after this event, the president of ABERT (the Brazilian Association of Radio and Television), Emanuel Carneiro, posted on the ABERT website their position that demonstrates a note of dissatisfaction and their objections with the obligation of broadcasters to provide audio descriptive programs to the general public.

    The National Organization of Blind of Brazil challenge ABERT’s position and wish to negate their objections by providing clarification as to the importance of implementing audio description. It is estimated that there are more than 16 million Brazilians with some degree of visual impairment who need this service to better understand, absorb and share the information provided through this medium.

    The requirement of two hours of weekly programming audio description only counts for 1.2% of the entire week’s schedule, cutting out over 98% of all broadcast shows from those with visual impairments. Even in 10 years when the amount of audio described programming is raised to twenty hours a week, this will cover less then 12% of the total programs available to the general public. This is huge gap between what is out there and what is made available to the visually impaired to consume, and affects their ability to fully participate in society.

    95.7% of Brazilian households have at least one television set. It is clear that television is the most democratic and comprehensive means of dissemination of culture, information, education and leisure in their country. Television is the obvious vehicle to impart the standards of accessibility outlined in the Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (United Nations treaty). Brazil signed and ratified this treaty guarantying to all citizens the inalienable right to culture, information, education and leisure. This shows there is a disconnection between what visually impaired Brazilians are entitled to and what they actually can expect to receive.

    Research conducted by several universities in Brazil, North America and Europe demonstrates that the understanding by people with disabilities of movies, plays, television programs, and other audiovisual products increases by 80% when accompanied by audio description. Although audio description exists and has been applied in other countries since the 1980s, audio description is still a novelty for the Brazilian broadcasters. They have an apprehension to take this on citing various reasons why they need more time. ONCB stressed that this issue was thoroughly discussed in several consultations and public meetings held between the Ministry of Communications, and representatives of ABERT and ONCB. Most European countries are well advanced with regard to improving accessibility for people with disabilities; the European Parliament itself has published ample legislation in place, especially in the field of accessible communication.

    In England, for example, Ofcom requires all television stations, to report quarterly the amount of programs broadcast with subtitles for the deaf, audio description, and with interpretation in sign language. In the consolidated report of 2010, Ofcom itself notes that, of 72 television stations existing in that country, they all complied with the minimum standards and 69 voluntarily exceeded the required quota of 10% of programming, with some exceeding the rate of 40% their broadcasts with audio description. This clearly shows it can be done if the broadcasters step up and take on the responsibility.

    In the United States, after eight years of struggle, in October 2010 President Obama signed legislation known as the 21st Century Communication and Information Act, which determines the transmission of at least 50 hours of television programming with audio description. 50 hours per quarter may seem a rather small amount, but transform the Brazilian requirement of two hours a week for the same period established in U.S. law; it is evident that Brazilian broadcasters are only obliged to 24 hours per quarter, less then half of what can be expected in the USA.

    The good news is there are countries which, while not having specific legislation, already apply to audio description in its programming. Argentina for example, is adding audio description on some of their programs via SAP analog even before the Law Medios be regulated. Certainly the implementation in Brazil of all the accessibility features for people with disabilities is an important competitive advantage for our digital television system that we intend to spread in other countries.

    ABERT insists that the audio description was required only in digital television, claiming that this system is that it offers the best resources for this purpose. However, digital television sets are the most expensive in the stores, making them not affordable for everyone. Approximately 80% of the 25 million Brazilians with a disability are citizens with lower purchasing power. Perhaps more than any possible technical difficulties, this is the greatest impediment to the spread of television access for people with disabilities. Millions of Brazilians are eager to be consumers of television programs delivered to them in an accessible format but if it is tied to the most expensive technology, then this cannot become a reality for most.

    The National Organization for the Blind in Brazil is willing to work hand in hand with the Ministry of Communications to create a solution with the television broadcasters that promotes opportunities for inclusion for all Brazilians, with or without a disability. "Nothing About Us, Without Us".

    Canadian Council of the Blind’s Lobbying Efforts Pay Off
    The Bank of Canada unveiled its new series of plastic bank notes on June 20, 2011. The bank notes include enhanced accessibility features including durable tactile features, high contrast numerals and distinct colours. “The Canadian Council of the Blind appreciates the Bank of Canada’s continued efforts to improve the accessibility of bank notes for Canadians with vision loss,” said Louise Gillis. “The enhanced features on the new notes tell me that they have listened to feedback provided by our members.” The new bills can be identified with ease using a bank note reader. The new $100 bill will begin circulating in November followed by a $50 note in March of 2012. The $20, $10 and $5 bank notes will be issued by the end of 2013. Printed on a plastic polymer material, the new bills include innovative security features including transparent windows--the biggest banknote window in the world--and intricate metallic holographic images. http://www.ccbnational.net

    The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
    AFB celebrated its 90th anniversary on June 28, marking an impressive track record for setting standards and achieving milestones to improve the quality of life for people with vision loss. Ninety years ago, a resolution was passed by the American Association of Workers for the Blind to create "...a central organization to cooperate with and supplement the work of existing agencies in work for the blind..."

    In the intervening decades, AFB has become a leading organization for people who are blind or visually impaired by advocating for their rights and interests, broadening access to technology, promoting and facilitating independent living and elevating the quality of information and tools available for families and professionals. "Our 90th anniversary isn't really about AFB; it's about the many people and programs that have made this achievement possible," said AFB President and CEO, Carl Augusto. "This milestone reflects an idea that's embedded in AFB's culture — that we serve people of all ages living with vision loss by looking ahead and making sure they can live lives of hope, possibility and expanded opportunities." http://www.afb.org/

    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
    Dr. William Rowland, Immediate Past President

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

    Dr. Penny Hartin, Chief Executive Officer
    Ms. Ianina Rodriguez, Administrative Assistant ianina.rodriguez@wbuoffice.org
    Ms. Marianne McQuillan, Manager of Fund Development & Communications

    Selasa, 02 Agustus 2011


    1. New Vice-President: This is to inform you that Ms. Martine Abel-Williamson from New Zealand has been elected the new Vice-President of WBUAP with effect from 1 August 2011. We extend to her our heartiest congratulations as she assumes this responsible position for the remaining term of this Quadrennium.

    We wish to thank all of you who have taken part in this important exercise, and we can assure you it was a very difficult decision for your Board to make. Several factors were taken into consideration, including the nature of the Board's composition.

    2. WBUAP Quadrennial General Assembly: The WBU 8th General Assembly will be held in Bangkok, Thailand from 10 - 15 November 2012. As is our usual practice, WBUAP will hold its Assembly one day before or during the WBU event. The exact date will be informed to you at a later date. You are kindly requested to take note of two items:

    2.1. Membership Fees: Any Member-Country which is not financial by 31 December 2011 (not paid up its fees by this date), will not be entitled for support by WBU to attend the Assembly or have the right to vote. If you have any doubts, please contact the WBU or the WBUAP Secretariats.

    2.2. Elected Positions on WBUAP: In conjunction with the WBUAP Quadrennial General Assembly, please give some thoughts to the line-up in 2012. These are the four principal office-bearers - President, Vice-President, Secretary General and the Hon. Treasurer. The other three positions on the Board are the Representatives who will attend the WBU Executive Committee meetings.

    With best wishes,

    (Ivan Ho Tuck Choy),

    Secretary General,

    World Blind Union-Asia Pacific.