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  • Minggu, 06 Mei 2012

    WBU E-BULLETIN VOLUME 6, ISSUE 2 - April 2012

    TABLE OF CONTENTS TABLE OF CONTENTS 1 CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE E-BULLETIN 3 MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT 3 UPDATES/REPORTS 4 Message from the WBU/ICEVI General Assembly Planning Committee 4 Important Information about the General Assembly 5 Update on WBU Employment Website 6 Status of Quiet Cars Report by Fredric Schroeder 7 A report on the International Conference on Good Policies for Persons with Disabilities, Vienna, January 2012 9 The Leonard Cheshire Disability and the United Nations ESCAP 11 ARTICLES 12 WORLD BRAILLE FOUNDATION 2001 to 2011 12 Standard Chartered Bank opens the door of opportunity to visually impaired people in Asia, Africa and the Middle East 14 Current Debates in Wellbeing: Vision Loss and Spirituality 16 ANNOUNCEMENTS 18 A tribute to the life of Lex Grandia, President of the World Federation of the Deafblind (WFDB) by William Rowland 18 Presidents Barack Obama (USA) and Dima Rousseff (Brazil) issue a joint statement of support on WIPO: 20 FOAL calls for Rehabilitation Projects 20 Bookshare’s 10th Anniversary celebrated in March 20 RESOURCES 21 A New Toolkit 21 Leonard Cheshire database of disability and development projects 21 WBU’s website 22 Hadley Continuing Education 22 Points of View from Visually Impaired Bloggers 22 White’s Blind Man Roams the Globe radio series 23 NEWS FROM THE REGIONS 23 AFRICA 23 ASIA 23 ASIA-PACIFIC 24 EUROPE 26 ‘Books Without Borders’; the EBU copyright campaign. 26 LATIN AMERICA 28 The 8th General Assembly held on 15 and 16 March, in Mexico City. The new Executive Committee is the following: 28 ULAC'S Dorina De Gouvea Nowill Distinction for Blind Latin American Women 29 NORTH AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN 29 The Haitian Society for Aid to the Blind (SHAA) celebrated their 60th anniversary 29 2012 CONFERENCE NOTICE AND LINKS: 31 WBU OFFICERS 32 REGIONAL PRESIDENTS 32 WBU STAFF 32 EMAIL COMMUNICATION WITH WBU OFFICE 33 CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE E-BULLETIN Contributions are welcome to the e-Bulletin. We thank those of you who have been providing us with stories and updates for the quarterly newsletters and encourage members to provide articles and updates. If we do not hear from you, we cannot report on your success. Our next deadline for content submission will be Friday June 29, 2012 for our next issue of the e-Bulletin. We accept submissions in English, French, and Spanish, in electronic format. Please send submissions to Marianne McQuillan: marianne.mcquillan@wbuoffice.org MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT I am pleased to introduce this information-packed issue of our E-Bulletin. Thank you to those who provide articles and reports and to Marianne and Penny who spend time sourcing material. 2012 has been a busy start to the last year of the current WBU quadrenium which will come to an end in Bangkok Thailand this November. Plans for this event are well underway with registrations now open and the program almost final. It is the time to start planning your attendance which I can assure you will be a memorable time and a rare opportunity to meet leaders of the blindness community from all corners of the world. Two of our regions have held their general assemblies and welcomed in new regional presidents. Many thanks to those from the past term who contributed to the work of the regional and global levels, particularly Dr Guillermo Moreno (ULAC) and Mr Allousi (ABU). Congratulations and a special welcome to MR S.K Rungta (India) ABU regional president and Volmir Raimondi (Brazil) ULAC regional president. Special congratulations to Gloria Peniza from Venezuela who received the inaugural award, The Dorina De Gouvea Nowill Distinction for Blind Latin American Women. A meeting of the IDA governing body was held in Athens during March. It was pleasing to see other IDA members putting place roles similar to what we have created for Victor Cordiero as our Advocacy Coordinator. Already, Victor has had the opportunity to take part in meetings during April in Geneva with other IDA member’s new staff and to attend part of the CRPD committee meetings. This is a great opportunity for our advocacy work inputting into and supporting our members to input into the UN various treaty bodies and other international advocacy initiatives. I urge you to make the time to read the material in this issue. It provides a great deal of information on many of the initiatives we have underway including: employment resource bank, right to read and our treaty with WIPO, the roll out of our CRPD toolkit and much more. Maryanne Diamond UPDATES/REPORTS Message from the WBU/ICEVI General Assembly Planning Committee On behalf of the Local Organizing Committee, it is my great pleasure to extend a warm invitation to you, your colleagues, and your family to attend the World Blind Union’s 8th General Assembly. This will take place in cooperation with the International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI) who will also hold their general assembly and have joint presentations and programs with the WBU here in Bangkok, Thailand from November 8-18, 2012. During these events you will experience not only updated knowledge and technology; you will also be our honoured guests at the International Blind Music Festival, which will be held every evening from November 12-15, 2012 at Benjasiri Park, next to the Imperial Queen's Park hotel, which is our event venue. This stage will be for international and local blind musicians. This festival will be opened for the public. For who are interested to participate as one of the blind musicians please feel free to contact wbu.icevi@gmail.com. We will also have a Loy Krathong Festival demonstration which is on the twelfth lunar month; Thais believe that all the elements are right for celebrating. The main rice harvest season has ended and it’s time to thank the Water Goddess for a year’s worth of her abundant supply. Many believe that this is the time to symbolically ‘float away’ all the misfortunes and illnesses they have encountered up until this point. Many people also use the occasion to pray for a healthy, prosperous future, as well as for a chance to find a perfect soul mate. We are also preparing a public relations event call “Big Smile Blind Event” that will take place in May at the front area of The Emerald Buddha Temple and Grand Palace by having 1000 volunteers representing blind people and we will take a photo from the helicopter to show as an advertising TV spot to promote our General assembly. And we are collecting stories focused on blindness issues of all kinds and will be broadcasting these through television programs, running from July until December. Any of your stories from abroad are also welcomed. To learn more about the general assembly and to register link to our website: www.wbu-icevi2012.org Senator Monthian Buntan President, Thailand Association of the Blind Chairman, Local organizing committee for the WBU-ICEVI General Assembly 2012 Important Information about the General Assembly Registration Process The registration for the General Assembly is now open. We realize that some of you have tried to register for the Assembly and have not been able to do so. Our local hosts have faced some challenges to make a fully accessible online registration in the three languages and which also link with the hotel reservations. To fully complete this process would take much more time and money and so we have elected to offer two options for registration. Online registration is now available in English on the General Assembly website at www.wbu-icevi2012.org. Please note that you will need to pay separately for your conference registration and your hotel booking, but the process can be completed online in English. For French and Spanish, we have a manual registration form which you can download either from the WBU website or from the General Assembly website. This form, once completed can be emailed or faxed to the conference organizers. You will again need to pay separately for your conference registration and the hotel. This manual form is also available in English for those who prefer. Airline fare discounts Our local hosts have arranged for a group discount from Star Alliance airline partners. You can find out more information about how to receive the discount from the WBU/ICEVI General Assembly website at: http://www.wbu-icevi2012.org/Star-Alliance.html Applications for Delegate Support The deadline for applying for support to attend the General Assembly is now passed. We will continue to accept late application forms; however, any applications received after the March 15th deadline will now be placed on a wait list and will only be considered in the event that some funds are still available after we have reviewed the applications submitted before the deadline. Update on WBU Employment Website The planning stage of the WBU Employment website is now complete and the project is well on track. Topics to be addressed on the website have been finalized, as has the organization of the content. Previous efforts to identify and catalogue external content (i.e. content that will not be included as text on the website) have been reviewed and are being supplemented where gaps exist. The end of May has been targeted for completion of all original content. Arie Opps has been hired as the Project Manager for the next phase of the project. Arie has over 12 years of experience in marketing and communications and has managed the development of several large websites in the not-for-profit sector. Arie has brought on Karen Wolffe as lead content developer. Dr. Wolffe manages a private practice as a career counsellor and consultant in Austin, Texas. She is the former American Foundation for the Blind Director of Professional Development and CareerConnect®, AFB’s on-line employment and mentoring service. Dr. Wolffe is also a member of WBU’s Employment Working Group. Following content development, immediate next steps include translation into French, design, and development. At that time, the site will be populated with content, and then it will be evaluated and revised (if needed) prior to launch. Status of Quiet Cars Report by Fredric Schroeder In recent years, consumers have been seeking greener, more fuel efficient cars. In response, as technology has advanced, automobile manufacturers have developed hybrid electric, and more recently, fully electric cars. When operating on electric power, these vehicles are essentially silent, presenting a danger to blind people and other pedestrians. For the past three years, the United Nations has been working to address the hazard posed by quiet vehicles to the safety of blind people and other pedestrians. The World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29), "Working Party on Noise" (GRB) created the Quiet Road Transport Vehicle (QRTV) working group charged with developing guidelines for designing alert sound devices. As work progressed on developing voluntary guidelines, in early 2010, the National Federation of the Blind was able to persuade the United States Congress to adopt legislation mandating a minimum sound standard for hybrid electric and other quiet vehicles. As a result of the U.S. law, the United States and Japan proposed that the GRB develop a Global Technical Regulation, rather than voluntary guidelines. Key issues It has been argued that a car stopped at a red light does not need to make an alerting sound since the vehicle poses no danger while stationary. Nevertheless, it is important for the blind pedestrian to know of the presence of a vehicle that is temporarily stopped since the vehicle may begin to move at any time. Vehicles operating on electric power begin moving more quickly than vehicles using internal combustion engines, making the need for the pedestrian to be aware of the vehicle particularly important. If a blind person is unaware of the presence of the car, he or she may step out unexpectedly into the path of the vehicle just as the driver begins to accelerate. Some newer internal combustion engines literally shut off the engine while stopped rather than idling. When stopped at a red light, vehicles with stop/start technology are as silent as electric or hybrid cars. Blind pedestrians need to be alerted to the presence of these vehicles for the same reason that pedestrians need to be aware of any vehicle that could begin moving suddenly. What is the sound level needed to provide reasonable safety? This question is more complicated than it may first appear. Vehicle manufacturers are under increasing pressure from consumers and governments to minimize vehicle noise. For this reason, it is essential that the Global Technical Regulation not specify a sound level so minimal as to compromise the safety of blind and other pedestrians. The trick is finding a level sufficient to insure safety while not being excessively loud is complicated by environmental noise and other factors. If the alert sound is too loud, people are disturbed. If too quiet, blind pedestrians are placed in life-threatening danger. In working to find a reasonable balance of sound, safety should be the highest consideration. What kind of alert sounds would be easily recognizable as representing a motor vehicle? From an engineering standpoint, replicating the sound of a conventional internal combustion vehicle is difficult. Still, it is important that the alert sound be one that is intuitively recognizable as coming from a vehicle. If the sound is not identical to the sound of an ordinary car, it must be close enough that the pedestrian will recognize it without the need for significant training. While many issues must still be resolved, the world has taken note of the right of blind people to travel safely and independently, and that means having access to information about the presence and movement of cars and other vehicles. A Global Technical Regulation will help give our human and civil rights to independent travel the weight of law. This report was edited down from the full submitted article. To read the full report, go to our website: www.worldblindunion.org under resources - publications. A report on the International Conference on Good Policies for Persons with Disabilities, Vienna, January 2012 by Anna Lawson This conference (attended by approximately 250 people from over 30 countries) was funded and organised by the combined efforts of the Essl Foundation, the World Future Council and Bank Austria. Its aim was to bring together parliamentarians, representatives of NGOs and foundations, academics and disability rights activists to discuss examples of laws and policies that have had some success in tackling the marginalisation, exclusion and discrimination often experienced by disabled people. The idea was that such a discussion, based on concrete and specific examples of laws and policies, would support the work being carried out in many countries to implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and thus to secure a future in which the human rights of disabled people are ensured. Although the primary focus was Europe, discussion was enriched by the selection of a number of non-European policy examples and by the participation of a significant number of non-European delegates. The process of identifying the policies to be discussed in the conference began with a call for nominations of laws and policies considered to be examples of good practice. On the basis of research into these conducted by Ingrid Heindorf (a political scientist) and consultation with the scientific advisory board, 8 of the 18 policies initially nominated were selected. These are described in the conference programme as follows: • For their comprehensive approach to, or certain features that particularly advance, non-discrimination, accessibility and equality of opportunities: the Austrian Federal Disability Equality Act, the Spanish Law of Equal Opportunities, Non-Discrimination and Universal Access for People with Disabilities and the UK Equality Act. • For recognising the right to support in personal decision-making and avoiding guardianship: the Representation Agreement Act of British Columbia, Canada. • For promoting accessible investigative and judicial procedures for persons with mental, intellectual or communication disabilities: the Israeli Investigation and Testimony Procedures Law. • For successfully enabling independent living: the Swedish Act on Support and Services for Persons with Certain Functional Impairments and the Personal Assistance Benefit Act. • For establishing the right to inclusive education for all children and students with disabilities: the Italian Framework Law for the Assistance, Social Integration and the Rights of Disabled Persons. • For preventing guardianship, isolation and suicide amongst persons with severe mental or psychosocial disabilities: Swedish Government Decision on State Subsidies for Personal Representatives. The morning of 23 January was devoted to 2 plenary sessions - ‘Challenges and Opportunities for Europe’s Disability Policy’ and ‘Laws Advancing Non-Discrimination, Accessibility and Equality’. These sessions included eminent speakers such as Lord Colin Low (vice-president of the Royal National Institute of Blind and Partially Sighted People), Mr Ioannis Vardakastanis (president of the European Disability Forum), Ms. Elisabeth Schroedter MEP (vice-chair of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, European Parliament) and Mr. Johan ten Geuzendam (head of Unit for Rights of Persons with Disabilities, DG Justice, European Commission). The selected policies were presented and discussed in the afternoon, in a series of parallel workshop sessions which were organised into 3 50-minute slots. Although these contained much of interest and value, the time available for discussion and questions was often uncomfortably tight. There are plans to build on the work carried out for this conference and to hold similar events in the future. Such events, it is to be hoped, will factor in more time for the discussion of the policy examples. They have the potential to stimulate and facilitate the exchange of ideas, the sharing of good practice and implementation challenges. The extent to which this potential is realised depends on the extent to which disabled peoples organisations and others engage in the process. It is to be hoped that the World Blind Union and its members continue to play an active role in this process and to use the opportunities it affords to ensure that policy developments affecting blind and partially-sighted people have a central place in the on-going discussions. Further information about the 2012 conference and the associated reports and policies can be found at http://www.zeroproject.org/about/conference/ The Leonard Cheshire Disability and the United Nations ESCAP council held an international conference in March on the importance of including disabled in development. Below is the article released after the conference in Bangkok, Thailand. Persons with disabilities must be ‘put at the heart’ of international development – was the core recommendation stated at the conference on disability-inclusive MDGs (millennium development goals) and aid effectiveness after three days of discussions. “The time is now for development partners to strengthen the disability-inclusiveness of their policies and programmes in Asia-Pacific. Making a difference in the lives of the 650 million persons with disabilities in the Asia-Pacific region will bring us closer to meeting the MDGs globally,” said Nanda Krairiksh, Director, Social Development Division, UNESCAP. “We have a unique opportunity for disabled people to campaign for change with international policy makers to make lasting improvements to their daily lives and future opportunities. This makes this conference different from any other I have been to before,” commented Ilyas Khan, Chair of Leonard Cheshire Disability, in his opening speech. In every country surveyed, unemployment rates for persons with disabilities are higher than rates for those without disabilities. Despite this shocking statistic, there was no mention of persons with disabilities in the UN’s blueprint for international development, the Millennium Development Goals when they were launched in 2000. This omission was only rectified ten years later. The Conference will feed into an Asia-Pacific region strategy to support a new decade to promote the rights of persons with disabilities (2013 to 2022), as well as a post-MDG development framework. This will directly help to launch a truly inclusive development model. The conference concluded that persons with disabilities and organizations representing disability groups must be full participants in the planning, design and implementation in all aspects of delivering programs to alleviate poverty, provide education, and improve health. Learn more at the conference website: www.lcdisability.org/aideffectiveness ARTICLES WORLD BRAILLE FOUNDATION 2001 to 2011, an exciting Decade! From Barbara Marjeram The WBF was launched over ten years ago up to bring literacy through access to braille in developing countries. This is achieved both in providing blind, men, women and children (and their teachers) the ability to learn how to read and write in braille, and also in making sure they have access to the materials required to produce braille. In the first six years, the Foundation worked directly with country partners on a range of projects that involved training in acquiring Braille literacy skills to empower blind persons to achieve greater independence through knowledge and heightened self-confidence. Some projects over the ten year period of the WBF were: in Cuba producing volumes of Braille music in Spanish; in India the production and distribution quarterly each year of a braille magazine in Hindi to some 1500 blind children; in the Philippines the development of training manuals for the production and teaching of braille in the Tagalog language. Braille200 was the Canadian initiative led by the World Braille Foundation with our Canadian partners, to celebrate the Bicentennial of the birth of Louis Braille in 2009 to heighten awareness of the life and legacy of this world hero. The reach of Braille200 in every part of Canada and elsewhere with the cooperation of the World Blind Union and dozens of other organizations of the blind was the predominant program for the Foundation in 2008 and 2009. The CNIB and the Canadian Braille Literacy Foundation were significant program and financial contributors to the success of the Braille200 initiative. Studies show again and again that blind women and men with superior Braille skills achieve higher education resulting in rewarding careers. Over this decade the WBF has contributed more than ½ million dollars of privately raised funds toward these objectives. Since July 2009 the World Braille Foundation has been working in partnership with the Canadian government through CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency). Just over two years ago, WBF launched the first partnership with CIDA on an inclusive education project in Swaziland and Niger with an ultimate goal of getting blind kids into school just like their sighted peers. AFUB (Africa Union of the Blind) provides co-ordinating support through their Kenya office. The immediate goal of the project was to provide primary education to 80+ blind girls and boys through educating teachers in special education, training blind women as teaching assistants and providing equipment to resource centres which were established within rural primary schools. The project funded activities officially concluded in September 2011 and now WBF is in the process of the final evaluation. We do know that Niger now has more than 60 blind girls and boys in the resource centres receiving primary education most for the first time (between the ages of 5 – 14 years) – in time these students will move into a fully inclusive classroom setting. Swaziland had challenges with transportation and has fewer blind children enrolled in the resource centres; however they have worked very hard to introduce the program to other primary schools and have encouraged and trained 8 schools to accept blind children which is happening with support of the teaching assistants. WBF is confident of the sustainability of the project in both these countries. CIDA was pleased with the progress and success and provided another grant in order for WBF to expand this project into four other African countries: Lesotho, Liberia, Burkina Faso and Mali. During a three-month period, we will train 16 teachers in special education along with 16 blind women as assistants to help in the resource centres. The project is now underway and official launches have been held in Lesotho and Liberia. Primary schools have been identified and staff is being recruited. The target is to start enrolling blind girls and boys into the resource centres by April 2012. To encourage and support parent involvement, financial support is provided throughout the project to the families of blind pupils; this helps with transportation food security and networking among families. A program dedicated to sensitize the sighted population to the concept and reality of inclusive education has also been developed. In addition to the education and training component the project also provides opportunities for at least a dozen blind women and men to participate on community committees; providing them with the skills to allow greater participation and effectiveness in policy development and implementation both within civil society and at the government level. This helps raise the profile of blind persons which helps the community to accept them and consider their needs when making plans for their region. A critical proponent to the success of both these projects has been and is the commitment by the in-country Ministries of Education to ensure sustainable inclusive education that will hold great promise for the future of blind children in these countries and beyond. The continued training and employment of teaching assistants from within the blindness community is also a focus to ensure sustainable employment for blind women and men. The World Braille Foundation will continue to work and liaise with developing countries toward our mission and goal of literacy through braille. For more information on the WBF please visit their website: http://worldbraillefoundation.com/ Standard Chartered Bank opens the door of opportunity to visually impaired people in Asia, Africa and the Middle East Those who are blind, or who live with visual impairment often find it hard to find meaningful employment. Even in the United Kingdom, despite being legally protected against discrimination from potential employers, only about one out of four visually impaired people work. In many regions around the globe, not having full sight means facing significant barriers to employment opportunities. This makes Standard Chartered Bank’s initiative of incorporating disabled employees into bank departments in their Asia and Middle East offices quite innovative and remarkable. The Bank’s decision to proactively recruit and train men and women with visually impairments has resulted in successful integration of these employees, while benefitting the bank. In 2007, Standard Chartered welcomed a group of visually impaired employees to its telesales team in Pakistan for the first time. Thanks to the Ida Rieu School for the Blind, Standard Chartered management learned that by installing voice identification software, the Bank could create a more inclusive workplace for the visually impaired. The Bank has since employed and integrated more than 60 visually impaired men and women across a number of telesales teams in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand. Humaira Aslam, one of the first visually impaired employees to join Standard Chartered in Pakistan, continues to enjoy working in telesales. “The best thing I like about the job is that customers do not know that I can’t see and I get my job done without any sympathy or favours from any one. I have never thought of the blackness around me and have always focused on further improving my strengths to compete in this world. I am proud to be part of the Standard Chartered family,” says Humaira. Over the years, employees like Humaira, are proving to be excellent at their jobs and, in fact, are often outperforming their sighted peers. For example, in Taiwan, blind employees have achieved 20 per cent higher call volumes than their sighted peers and without one customer complaint. In addition to providing the basic infrastructure support to visually impaired employees, Standard Chartered believes it’s equally important to ensure these staff are supported by their colleagues. The Bank created an inclusive environment and helped sighted employees to understand and welcome their new colleagues. These steps help employees adjust to one another and eliminate the stigma attached with blindness to create a friendlier working environment. Standard Chartered believes by doing business the right way, it can make a positive impact on the community. Through its program, Seeing is Believing, (a partnership with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness [IAPB] to tackle avoidable blindness), the Bank helps to increases access to eye care for people in need. Standard Chartered aims to raise US$100 million for their campaign: Seeing is Believing by 2020. Link to www.seeingisbelieving.org to learn more about their philanthropic achievements. Current Debates in Wellbeing: Vision Loss and Spirituality By Lorna Marquès-Brocksopp University of Sunderland, United Kingdom. In June 2011 London was host to the Vision 2020 Conference. The lively debates were peppered with talk of ‘a vision of the Big Society’, underlining a holistic approach to visual impairment services. One term that surfaced frequently during these talks was ‘wellbeing’. This concept was used frequently in relation to ‘individual needs’, ‘empowerment’, and ‘quality-of-life’. ‘Wellbeing’ as a term has thus begun to be incorporated within the practices in public health care and in the realm of vision impairment. What is meant by the term “wellbeing”? Yet how do we understand the term “wellbeing” in relation to sight loss and eye conditions? Are we talking about eye health and physical wellbeing in terms of mobility and functionality? Or do we also mean a sense of social connectedness? And what about the impact that sight loss has on emotional wellbeing? How does visual impairment affect self-esteem and levels of satisfaction with life? Vision loss impacts on all of areas of a person’s life: the physical, mental/emotional and social. Research has begun to address wellbeing in relation to visual impairment, however there remains at least one other area of wellbeing which arguably plays a crucial role in just how “well” we feel, regardless of social and cultural differences: spiritual wellbeing. Before considering what role spiritual wellbeing plays in relation to visual impairment, it is important to ask exactly what do we mean when we talk about “spirituality”. The concept is far from clear. What is meant by the term “spirituality”? It seems that spirituality is ‘a broad concept that encompasses values, meaning and purpose’, and precise interpretations of it are rare. There is no definition that can be universally applied and measured since all human beings have individual belief and value systems that influence their understanding of it. Nevertheless, there can be two general distinctions: (a) Spirituality and religion as the same concept (“religious spirituality”); the terms being interchangeable for some. Or, (b) Spirituality as a concept separate from religion that addresses an individual's "firmly held values which give meaning and purpose in life" – will be defined as “existential spirituality” in this article. The first view focuses on the religious implications of spirituality (which include belief in a god and the rituals associated with it), and the other attends to spirituality as a "search for meaning in life, wholeness, peace," separate from religious affiliation. Researchers often ignore the crucial distinctions between existential and religious spirituality and may use the terms interchangeably in discussing relationships between ‘spirituality’ and health. However, religious faith may inform or promote spiritual wellbeing in some individuals, but may not be essential or beneficial for others. Spirituality and holistic wellbeing It has been suggested that spirituality plays a mediating role in wellbeing by acting as a “buffer” against the negative effects of stress on physical and emotional health. Previous studies have found there is a significant relationship between spirituality and the psychosocial adjustment to chronic illnesses. Spiritual wellbeing may influence rehabilitation outcomes due to its relationship to personal meaning, or self-esteem. Thus, spirituality acts as a “go-between” in the pathway from illness and disability to wellness, “buffering” the direct negative effects of chronic conditions and improving psychosocial outcomes. Spirituality and vision loss So what role does spirituality, and specifically existential spirituality, play in relation to adapting to and living with visual impairment? Despite the findings in relation to various chronic conditions, the relationship between spirituality and vision loss remains an under-researched area. Only a few studies have explicitly explored the role of spirituality in the process of adaptation to vision loss. In 2002, Dr. Brennan examined the relationship between spirituality and psychosocial development in adults aged 45+ with vision loss and results suggested that both (existential) spirituality and religiousness played a significant mediating role between life-event stress and psychosocial development. Current research Although there are various interpretations of spirituality and its relationship to wellbeing in healthcare settings, very few studies have focused on the role spirituality plays in adapting to vision loss. How visually impaired individuals define their spirituality would not be unique as persons with sensory disabilities outside the way others in society understand the term. Due to the need to fill this gap in the literature, a doctoral project has begun at the University of Sunderland (UK) which considers the role of existential spirituality in vision-specific wellbeing. The aim of this study is to develop a holistic understanding of wellbeing in visual impairment research and to consider how blind and partially sighted persons define spirituality and its effects on vision-specific wellbeing. Results of this study will become available in late 2012, and an overview of the project will be presented at the British Association of Spirituality Studies annual conference in Northampton, UK this May. This article was edited down in order to include it in the WBU newsletter, and all references were removed in order to keep the article brief. To access the complete article with all references, contact the author: lornabrocksopp@hotmail.com ANNOUNCEMENTS A tribute to the life of Lex Grandia, President of the World Federation of the Deafblind (WFDB) by William Rowland Of very few people can it be said that they are universally loved, but such a person was Lex Grandia, President of the World Federation of the Deafblind. Lex's untimely death on 19 April this year not only deprived WFDB of one of its most remarkable leaders but the disability rights movement globally of one of its most powerful advocates and memorable personalities. Lex was born in the Netherlands in 1950. His premature birth was the cause of severe hearing loss, while over-oxygenation resulted in his permanent blindness. He grew up in an institute for the blind and went on to attend the universities of Utrecht and Amsterdam, graduating with a PhD in Theology and a specialization in psychotherapy and hospital counseling. Lex's first job was in youth counseling, but he also qualified as a part-time minister in the Dutch Reformed Church and did broadcasting. He wrote two books on Bibliodrama and even found time to learn to play the piano and do sculpting in stone. Lex's organizational life began in 1978 when he became a regional chair in the national blindness organization in the Netherlands. Over the coming decades he would hold many positions of increasing prominence, first within the deafblind organization of his own country and then within the European Deafblind Network and eventually as board member of the European Disability Forum. At the founding of the WFDB in 2001 Lex was elected as Secretary General. In 2005 he became President, a position he held until his death seven years later. From 2003 to 2007, according to his own testimony, he worked nearly full-time on the drafting of text for the CRPD. He is credited with the inclusion in the text of references to deafblind persons and tactile communication. He was a leading activist during the UN negotiations in New York and also took his turn in chairing the International Disability Caucus, a coalition of some 70 DPOs lobbying for the Convention. Lex represented his organization in the International Disability Alliance during the entire period of the negotiations and was elected chairperson of IDA for the period 2007/8. At the coming into force of the CRPD in May 2008, Lex delivered a truly inspirational message on behalf of the 1 billion persons with disabilities around the world. Within WFDB Lex worked indefatigably for the establishment and strengthening of national organizations of the deafblind and he was particularly proud to have had a hand in the formation of the African Federation of the Deafblind. In 1995 Lex married his Danish wife Ann Thestrup and went to live in Aalborg. As a couple they were inseparable, with Ann playing her supportive role with greatest care and wisdom. She will long be remembered as a member of the IDA family in her own right. Following the announcement of Lex's death, messages of condolence and admiration poured in from around the world. In a poignant message posted on its website the IDA chairperson Diane Richler of Inclusion International had this to say: "The news of the death of Lex has left the disability community around the world with an aching heart. As testimonies from countless people have already shown he was an inspiration to the entire disability movement for his determination, his wisdom, his creativity, his gentleness and his humour. Within IDA he helped to calm troubled waters, ease tension and keep us moving forward. We have lost a friend -- but not his inspiration." The WFDB emerged as an independent organization from the ranks of the WBU and the WBU hereby extends to the WFDB and to IDA, and especially to Ann his wife and his family its heartfelt condolences. Below is a link to the memorial website set up to honor Lex Grandia. http://memorialwebsites.legacy.com/lexgrandia/homepage.aspx Presidents Barack Obama (USA) and Dima Rousseff (Brazil) issue a joint statement of support on WIPO: "The Presidents of the United States and Brazil reaffirmed the commitment of both countries to the conclusion of an effective international instrument in the World Intellectual Property Organization that ensures that copyright is not a barrier to equal access to information, culture, and education for visually impaired persons and persons with print disabilities." This is taken from the 30th paragraph of the list of agreements issued by the White House. To read the full statement, link here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/04/09/joint-statement-president-obama-and-president-rousseff FOAL calls for Rehabilitation Projects The ONCE Foundation for Latin American Blind Persons has issued an invitation addressed to the 19 countries in the region to submit rehabilitation projects for the promotion of independence and autonomy of visually impaired people. The deadline is May 31st, 2012. For more information visit: http://www.foal.es/FOAL/es/Convocatorias/Convocatoria+Específica+para+Proyectos+de+Rehabilitación.htm Bookshare’s 10th Anniversary celebrated in March Throughout the last ten years, Bookshare has been at the forefront of the digital book revolution, applying Silicon Valley technology to pioneer an innovative new approach to a library for individuals with print disabilities. Jim Fruchterman, the CEO and founder of the nonprofit Benetech, the parent organization of Bookshare, envisioned a library of eBooks formed by volunteers digitizing and legally sharing them over the Internet with others with qualified print disabilities. A former rocket scientist and 2006 MacArthur Fellow, Fruchterman acted on his vision and launched Bookshare, introducing an innovative new approach to reading for an underserved population. “We wanted to reinvent the library for people with print disabilities, to make sure they had the books they need for education, employment, and social inclusion,” said Fruchterman. “With technology, we knew we could inexpensively solve 95% the problem, rather than 5%.” To learn more about Bookshare, please visit www.bookshare.org. RESOURCES A New Toolkit A new toolkit is available for WBU members to download and use on our website. It is a resource guide to help organizations work with their governments to make the recommendations of the Convention of Persons with Disabilities a reality. Currently, it is only available in English, as it will take time to get it translated in to French and Spanish. You will find this as a Word document ready to download on our website under our Publications section at: http://www.worldblindunion.org/en/publications/Pages/default.aspx Leonard Cheshire Disability to launch world’s first international database of disability and development projects People with disabilities are often among the world’s poorest people. Ensuring full inclusion in development has only recently become a focus of international action. Disability and development projects conducted in Africa and Asia are now mapped, and are fully searchable, on a new website created by Leonard Cheshire Disability and funded by the Japanese Government and with support from the World Bank. This new ‘Disability and Development Database’ www.disabilitydatabase.org holds information on Government-funded projects implemented in the fields of health, education and livelihoods. With up-to-date data provided directly by project officials, the database lists contact details for the relevant Government and NGO officials who are involved in the projects. The fully accessible and searchable online database collates and presents information that will, for the first time ever, enable Government and other users to search, share and learn from disability inclusive projects from around the world. The database and data questionnaires have been designed and developed to capture information on what has been successful about projects, what challenges they have faced, and whether they will continue to operate in the future. Leonard Cheshire Disability has also ensured that the database will be accessible to people with visual impairments. The database will initially include information on over 50 projects in 24 countries and this is expected to expand by populating the database with more countries and new projects as we learn about them. The large part of populating the database must come from the initiatives of the stakeholders that include the government organizations. To view the database, follow this link: www.disabilitydatabase.org WBU’s website WBU’s website has been updated to SharePoint 10 and will be re-launched in May. We have re-organized it to be more user-friendly, and welcome your feedback to make it a better resource for our members. Link here to view the WBU website: www.worldblindunion.org Hadley Continuing Education If one of your 2012 goals was to learn something new, look at Hadley School for the Blind’s website to see the adult continuing education (ACE) courses they offer and consider learning Braille, or upgrade your knowledge in English, math or history. They also offer many on-line courses. These are free to blind or visually impaired men and women, and parents of blind children. Here is the link to their catalogue to learn more: http://www.hadley.edu/ACE-CourseListing.asp Points of View from Visually Impaired Bloggers With more people around the globe plugging into the world wide web to access information and connect with friends and family, there are millions items to read, far too many to keep up with. However, we found a resource page that provides links to ‘bloggers’ visually impaired women and men who write about blindness issues and life. You may find one new person (or more) to connect with who shares their knowledge, experience, and funny stories via their blog posts. The WBU has provided this link as a means of information sharing only and does not necessarily endorse, or agree with the opinions of individual bloggers around the world. If interested in reading the blogs of some visually impaired writers, link here: http://www.visionaware.org/blind_bloggers_blogs_by_people_who_are_blind_or_have_low_vision White’s Blind Man Roams the Globe radio series Last year many BBC listeners enjoyed Peter White’s travel adventures broadcast on the BBC and regret that there were only 2 episodes. We do hope he travels to more places in 2012 and if he does, we would be happy to hear about them. Listen to the original broadcast episodes by following this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/documentaries/2011/01/110105_blind_man_roams_the_globe.shtml NEWS FROM THE REGIONS AFRICA The Institutional Development Program (IDP) announces the 2012 Senior Management Institute (SMI) 8 week course. This course will be conducted from August 20th to October 12 at the Optima College in Pretoria, South Africa. The overall aim of the SMI is to provide participants with the knowledge, skills, and operational capacity to improve and optimize their organizational practice in the field of disability in development to facilitate social transformation. The course duration consists of 6 weeks of learning the theory and methodology (classwork) and 2 weeks of field assignment. To learn more about this course and to download the application form go to the IDP website: http://www.perkins.org/idp/ or email Martin Kieti at: Martin.kieti@Perkins.org ASIA The Asia Blind Union held their general assembly in February and the new President is Mr. Santosh Kumar Rungta. The WBU thanks Mr. Allousi, outgoing President of ABU for his service to the region and contributions he made on the global scale. A special thank you goes out to Mr. Kaul who served as Secretary General of ABU for 12 years. We appreciate his dedication and countless hours of support to make life better for visually impaired people. ASIA-PACIFIC Japan one year after the earthquake– a report by Michiko Tabata I attended the symposium in Sendai, organized to commemorate the March 11, 2011 earthquake and evaluate how the disaster was handled. There was a socializing dinner featuring a number of important figures including task force members who have been visiting blind individuals affected by the disasters. Everyone had a chance to speak so I told the group the international blindness community has been supporting the work of the task force. In the financial report section the person in charge introduced to the audience some generous financial support from outside Japan and the spirit of solidarity and friendship. The feeling in the room was something like "How Nice!" or "How generous!" I was fortunate to be sitting next to an 82-year-old blind woman from Fukushima and her daughter, who were impressed with the support from our overseas friends. This gave me the opportunity to tell them more about your support and assistance. The daughter told me how grateful they are to have support from outside Japan, and that she would not have learnt about it if they did not come to the event. They are so humble. Everyone I talked to agreed that the experiences faced by the survivors must be learned from in order to mitigate, if not prevent such tragedies in the future and develop emergency plans that would lessen the impact of devastation, both inside and outside Japan. Due to a lack of adequate services, the blind woman and her daughter had to change evacuation centers 6 times. They are now in temporary housing. They stressed the hardship experienced by the blind mother in having to cope with a new environment so many times. The mother often tells her daughter she wants to go back to their home in Fukushima (not far from the nuclear plant) which is not allowed because of high radiation. The daughter made very brief visits a few times to pick up valuables, but the house is now occupied by 30 pigs which were thrown away from a nearby farm because of the tsunami. This family suffered all the three disasters (the earthquake, the tsunami, and the radiation leak), like many others. There was also a partially sighted younger woman also with multiple sclerosis (facing multiple disabilities) with limited use of her limbs. While in evacuation center, people around accused her "for doing nothing while everyone else is working hard" or "moving the mouth constantly without doing anything with the legs and the arms". Because of this verbal harassment, she decided to leave the center and went home with her husband. However, this did not make things better as relief goods hardly reach individual households. A blind man from Fukushima had the flooding water come up to his chest. He was holding on to a steel pole with his right arm and his guide dog with his left. Luckily someone saw the light-colored head of the dog and realized there was a person needing to be rescued. Another blind man in the region has to undergo regularly scheduled dialysis at the hospital, and his family would drive him to and from the hospital. While gasoline was in short supply, the gas station attendant would not fuel his family's car because they "want to save oil for emergency vehicles". In order not to become seriously ill this man asked his doctor for a document that spelled out his need; after which the gas station would fuel the car. Unfortunately, such things can happen in extreme circumstances, in Japan and probably anywhere around the world. But then it is also the time when people will do unbelievable things to help others. We are preparing 2 "manuals" for disaster management. One is for blindness organizations on advocacy, awareness raising etc. Another is for support groups; to cover what are the biggest challenges, and what is most desperately needed etc. We hope to have these available in English, and I hope there will be some resources for translation as the volume is big and I won’t be able to manage this translation on my own. This will be my last account on issues related to our disasters last year, unless there is some remarkable development. I thank everyone who has been concerned about our people from the beginning. We will not forget your kindness and friendship as long as we live. EUROPE ‘Books Without Borders’; the EBU copyright campaign. By Dan Pescod, Campaigns Manager, Europe, International and Accessibility, Royal National Institute of Blind People World Book Day took place on the 23rd April – the day that Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega died, and several other well-known authors were born. Back in 2008, the World Blind Union used the day to launch its International Right to Read Campaign in the then World Book Capital, Amsterdam. The theme of the Amsterdam 2008 World Book Capital was “open book”. On the day, we made the point that most books were certainly not “open” to blind and partially sighted people, given that only some 5 per cent were available in accessible formats in the world’s richer countries, and less than one per cent in the poorer ones. The World Blind Union campaign sought to alleviate this “book famine”. What has been achieved in the four years since the Amsterdam launch? The European Commission, under pressure from EBU, called a get-together of blind people’s organizations, under the umbrella of EBU, and organizations representing copyright holders such as the Federation of European Publishers, in a “Stakeholder Dialogue”. Months of discussions led to the signing of an agreement, a so-called “MOU” (Memorandum of Understanding”), in which both parties agreed to work on licenses to allow blind people’s organizations to send accessible books across the EU’s national borders. The Commission greeted this development with much fanfare, and Single Market Commissioner Barnier himself presided over the signature ceremony. EBU had hoped that this initiative would secure publishers’ agreement to a short declaration stating that they were happy for blind people’s organizations to send accessible books between EU countries without express publisher permission. That would have allowed us to make real improvements – albeit modest ones- in the number of accessible books available to our beneficiaries. However, the MOU was followed by two negative developments. Firstly, publishers proposed lengthy and complicated licenses, which included a clause which would have asked our organizations to assume unlimited liability for any piracy of the books to be sent across borders. No right-thinking organization could sign such a contract. Secondly, publisher lobbyists and indeed the Commission “spun” the MOU agreement, giving the impression that this agreement meant there was no need for a binding treaty at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). As a consequence, and with a heavy heart, EBU suspended its involvement in the “Stakeholder Dialogue” in February 2011. At the global level, back in May 2009, Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay tabled the World Blind Union’s proposal for a WIPO treaty to allow us to share accessible books across borders. In the almost three years since that proposal was tabled, the European Union has shown itself to be most reluctant to accept the need for an effective and binding WIPO treaty. However, it should be noted that the EBU has been pushing hard for the EU negotiators to change their minds on this matter, and it’s perhaps timely to recap on just how hard we and the European Parliament have pushed already. In November 2010 over 100 MEPs from all groups signed a European Blind Union letter to Commissioner Barnier urging the Commission to back a binding WIPO book treaty. The Commission refused. On May 12th, 2011 the plenary session of European Parliament adopted a report called ”Unlocking the potential of the cultural and creative industries” (INI/2010/2156), that made clear its support for the international binding “Treaty for the visually impaired and other print disabled persons”. Article 70 of the report “Calls on the Commission to work actively and positively within the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to agree on a binding legal norm based on the treaty proposal drafted by the World Blind Union and tabled at WIPO in 2009”. The Council and Commission ignored this call. Then last September, the Parliament’s Petitions Committee agreed with the European Blind Union and European Dyslexia Association’s petition urging the EU to back the treaty. (Petition No.0924/2011) The Commission representatives at the Committee refused to back the treaty. In fact, most countries in the world agree with the European Parliament in wanting the treaty approved at WIPO. Yet the EU Council and Commission still refuse to back it! Looking ahead, the next meeting of the WIPO Copyright law negotiating committee, SCCR, takes place in July. Will the EU Commission and Member States change their tune and back a meaningful and binding “books without borders” treaty? Between now and July, EBU hopes that the European Parliament will put an oral question to the European Commission and Council on our treaty in a forthcoming plenary session. That would certainly focus attention on the EU’s position. We and WBU colleagues will continue working with all EU member states and other countries across the world to prepare for agreement at WIPO in Geneva this July. We have a great opportunity this year to make a real difference by agreeing the WIPO “books without borders” treaty. To do this, though, we need the EU to live up to its commitments under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. If it does so, 2012 will be the year that blind people’s right to read passes from slogan to reality. LATIN AMERICA The 8th General Assembly held on 15 and 16 March, in Mexico City. The new Executive Committee is the following: Board of Directors President: Volmir Raimondi (Brazil) – presidente@ulacdigital.org Vice President I: Julio César Canizález (El Salvador) – vp1@ulacdigital.org Vice President II: Gloria Gutiérrez (Nicaragua) – vp2@ulacdigital.org Treasurer: Crystal Vargas (México) – srf@ulacdigital.org Secretary General: Fernando Galarraga (Argentina) – sgeneral@ulacdigital.org Past President: Guillermo Moreno (Panamá) – expresidencia@ulacdigital.org ULAC'S Dorina De Gouvea Nowill Distinction for Blind Latin American Women This award was recently created and given out at the ULAC general assembly to honour women of distinction. It was named for the late Mrs. Dorina de Gouvea Nowill, from Brazil, who was President of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind and was responsible for making significant advances for blind people in her country. Mrs. Gloria Peniza, from Venezuela, was the first recipient of this award. And was recognized for her many services and contributions to advancing the rights of blind people. Gloria has always been very active in the blind movement in her country, and her region and the world. She has been a leader of Venezuelan visually impaired women and President of the Venezuelan Federation of Organizations of the Blind (FEVIC). At regional level she has occupied different positions in ULAC board since its creation, among them, she was its Treasurer and later on, its President from 2000 to 2004. She was elected Second Vice President of WBU from 2004 to 2008. During this period, she was also the Chairperson of the Development Committee. Nowadays she presides over the Mevorah Florentin Foundation and her efforts are directed as they have always been to improve the quality of life of visually disabled persons. Our congratulations go out to Gloria for winning this award and setting the bar high, to inspire others. NORTH AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN The Haitian Society for Aid to the Blind (SHAA) celebrated their 60th anniversary February 23, 2012. The institution was founded on February 23, 1952 by Dr. Louis Baron, who had become blind, and by Mr. John A. Sorel, who was born blind. Over the past 60 years, SHAA has existed despite all the challenges related to the difficult history of the Haitian people. It has gone through phases of being a very active organization and other times, experiencing withdrawal. Despite all, as noted by Dr. Michel A. Pean, Coordinator SHAA, in his speech for the occasion, the goals of the institution remain the same: • Preventing Blindness • Rehabilitating blind and visually impaired people • Provide opportunities for those whose sight cannot be restored. The anniversary attended by 200 guests, began with a religious ceremony conducted by Father Sadoni Leon, Director of the School St Vincent for disabled children, and Pastor Gerard Morency. This was followed by the President of the Board of SHAA, Ms. Michel Baumise, who greeted the audience by wishing everyone a warm welcome. She took the opportunity to relate the history of SHAA from 1952 to 2012. The Master of Ceremonies, Mr Jean Marc Mondesir asked the audience to observe a minute of silence for the victims of the January 2010 earthquake. The former secretary of SHAA, Ms. Pierre-Louis Immacula was one of those who perished due to the natural disaster. A plaque of honour was dedicated to her and given to her husband, Joseph Milhomme, a blind man engaged in rehabilitation services at SHAA. Other individuals and institutions also received plaques of Honor and Merit. One of these was the association Japanese AAR (Association for Aid and Relief), mainly responsible for reconstruction of our building Also the Norwegian Association of the Blind, that enabled the SHAA to acquire a portion of land. Other organizations that played important roles in the development of the cause of blind and partially sighted people of Haiti are: BAC / SSI (Sight Savers International), and CBM (Christian Blind Mission). SHAA staff including Gisèle Ligonde, Odette Lucien, Mr Odnel Eléazard, Mr Frednel Laguerre, and Dr. Fresnel Larosilière were acknowledged for their dedicated job performance. The event was punctuated with artistic interludes such as music, singing, and poetry, editing text with Franck ST Flower, Joshua Cazeau, and the actors of the Cultural Center Pyepoudre led by Paula Clermont Pean. The ceremony ended with a speech by Dr. Michel A. Pean. “Each year, SHAA has an impact on the lives of at least 600 blind and visually impaired people. SHAA also has a role in raising awareness among the general public of the abilities and rights of people with disabilities.” said Dr. Pean. He concluded by asking the audience to stand up to greet with great applause the centenary of Mrs. Francis Lyrtha, a great lady of Haiti, (and former SHAA Board Director) who was given a laurel branch and a tribute of honor. This event and the related activities were made possible through the support of Capital Bank, Sogebank, Help Aged International, Gallery 128, Lucienne Deschamps Foundation, City of Delmas, and the North America / Caribbean branch of the World Blind Union (WBU). 2012 CONFERENCE NOTICE AND LINKS: September 17 to 21 - The 13th International conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and disabled persons will take place in New Delhi, India. http://www.transed2012.in/ September 17 to 20: IAPB 9th General Assembly, in Hyderabad, India. This will cover all the latest news in the field of blindness prevention. For details go to: http://9ga.iapb.org/ October 24 to 28: NIB/NAEPB National Conference and Expo, Baltimore, Maryland U.S.A. – National Industries for the Blind’s annual event. To register and learn more: www.nib.org October 24 to 28: International Congress on Disability in Inchon, Korea, followed by Rehabilitation International’s 22nd Annual World Congress, from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2 . For more information their website is: www.riincheon2012.org October 25 to 28: Inclusion International’s Global conference, Washington, DC. U.S.A. To register and learn more: www.inclusion-international.org November 8 & 9: AFUB 7th General Assembly, Bangkok, Thailand just before the WBU event, see below. November 10 to 18: WBU/ICEVI General Assemblies in Bangkok, Thailand. See the notes at the beginning of this newsletter for the updates and how to register. To link to the website to learn more about the various activities go to: www.wbu-icevi2012.org November 26 to 28: Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) 1st World Congress, to be held in Agra, India. To learn more link here: http://www.cbrglobal.org/ WBU OFFICERS Ms. Maryanne Diamond, President maryanne.diamond@visionaustralia.org Mr. Arnt Holte, 1st Vice President arnt.holte@blindeforbundet.no Ms. Frances Candiru, 2nd Vice President aiykko@gmail.com Mr. Enrique Pérez, Secretary General umc@once.es Mr. A. K. Mittal, Treasurer akmittal@rediffmail.com Dr. William Rowland, Immediate Past President rowland@sancb.org.za REGIONAL PRESIDENTS AFRICA (AFUB) Mr. Mohammed Ez-zaoui md.ezzaoui@gmail.com ASIA (ABU) Mr. Santosh Kumar Rungta: santoshkumar.rungta@gmail.com ASIA PACIFIC (WBU-AP) Mr. Dato` Kulasegaran ranthoku@streamyx.com EUROPE (EBU) Mr. Wolfgang Angerman, w.angermann@taubblindenwerk.de LATIN AMERICA (ULAC) Mr. Raimondi Volmir, presidente@ulacdigital.org NORTH AMERICA/CARIBBEAN (WBU-NA/C) Mr. Carl Augusto caugusto@afb.net WBU STAFF Dr. Penny Hartin, Chief Executive Officer penny.hartin@wbuoffice.org Ms. Sandra Vernon, Administrative Assistant Sandra.vernon@wbuoffice.org Ms. Marianne McQuillan, Manager, Fund Development & Communications Marianne.mcquillan@wbuoffice.org r. Victor Cordiero, Advocacy Coordinator adco.wbu@gmail.com

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