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  • Jumat, 29 Maret 2013

    WBU E-BULLETIN VOLUME 7, ISSUE 1, February 2013

    TABLE OF CONTENTS CONTRIBUTIONS OF NEWS TO THE E-BULLETIN 3 REQUESTS FOR BRAILLE COPIES OF THE E-BULLETIN 4 PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE 4 WBU STRATEGIC PLAN 2013 TO 2016 OVERVIEW 5 WBU 2012 GENERAL ASSEMBLY 5 NEWLY ELECTED WBU TABLE OFFICERS 6 PASSED RESOLUTIONS 6 NEW HONOURARY LIFE MEMBERS 6 2012 LOUIS BRAILLE METAL WINNER: MR. JAWAHAR LAL KAUL, OF INDIA 7 SOCIAL MEDIA UPDATE 10 UPDATES FROM WORKING GROUPS 10 RIGHT TO READ CAMPAIGN: WIPO TREATY UPDATE - IS THE FINISH LINE IN MOROCCO IN JUNE? 10 WBU EMPLOYMENT RESOURCE BANK PROJECT IS LAUNCHED 12 TRANSLATING THE CRPD LEGAL COMMITMENTS INTO LOCAL OUTCOMES 15 DISABILITY UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD 17 PENNY HARTIN PRESENTED ON LOW VISION REHABILITATION AT THE IAPB – EMR CONFERENCE ON LOW VISION IN QATAR 18 NVDA DEVELOPMENT PROJECT UPDATE 18 BEYOND THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS 2015 – LIBERIA’S POSITION PAPER FOR INCLUSIVE APPROACHES 19 TIBET IN BLIND PEOPLE'S EYES EXHIBIT 21 STRUGGLE OF A SIGHTLESS VISIONARY 22 FROM THE IDA DEC. BULLETIN: QUADRENNIAL COMPREHENSIVE POLICY REVIEW 24 ANNOUNCEMENTS 25 A WIN-WIN SITUATION FOR NAPB AND WBU 25 SUDDEN DEATH OF INCLUSIVE PLANET FOUNDER, RAHUL CHERIAN 25 JOHN WILSON, WBU LIFETIME MEMBER, HAS PASSED AWAY. 26 MORE SAD NEWS OF A PASSING COLLEAGUE 26 RESOURCES 26 JOINT WORLD BLIND UNION AND THE AMD ALLIANCE INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN BRIEF 26 RESOURCE GENERATION WORKING GROUP 27 CRPD – NEW LINK ON UN WEB SITE 27 THE UN CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (CRPD) 27 THE WORLD BRAILLE FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES A NEW SCHOLARSHIP 28 INTERNATIONAL NETWORKING SITE FOR DISABLED YOUTH IS LAUNCHED 28 2013 CONFERENCE NOTICES 28 NEWS FROM THE REGIONS 30 AFRICA 30 ASIA 30 ASIA-PACIFIC 31 NEW LEGISLATIVE CLAUSE RELATED TO VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION IN MONGOLIA FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (PWDS) 31 EUROPE 31 EUROPEAN UNION’S DECISION ON SILENT CARS ISSUE 32 ONCE’S SUPPORT OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING 32 LATIN AMERICA 33 PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN ULAC AND ESVI-AL PROJECT (INCLUSIVE POST SECONDARY VIRTUAL EDUCATION) 33 ULAC OFFICERS WILL MEET FOR THE FIRST TIME IN SPAIN 33 LAUNCH OF A NEW PHASE IN “LATIN AMERICA” MAGAZINE 33 NORTH AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN 34 WBU OFFICERS 34 REGIONAL PRESIDENTS 34 WBU STAFF 35 CONTRIBUTIONS OF NEWS TO THE E-BULLETIN At the Strategic planning session in London in February it was decided to alter the content of the E-Bulletin to reflect less of the activities taking place in the regions, and to offer more on the campaigns and positive results of the WBU’s working groups and committees. As most of the WBU regions have their own newsletters, we found there was too much duplication. Many of the regions now have their own websites and so this may be the place for readers to go to look for news from the regions. On the WBU website under each region, we list their website address (for those that have set up a website). Therefore, starting with this issue, we will focus on articles that discuss the outcomes of the work taking place that accomplish the goals of the WBU. Going forward, we will chiefly provide information on the work being done by the WBU working groups and committees in furthering our goals of inclusion, capacity building and resource sharing. We will still always welcome articles from the regions and by those who wish to share their good news with the rest of the world. Our next deadline for content submission will be Monday April 15, 2013. We still accept story submissions in English, French, and Spanish, preferably in electronic format. Please send to Marianne by the deadline date at Marianne.mcquillan@wbuoffice.org REQUESTS FOR BRAILLE COPIES OF THE E-BULLETIN For those who would like to receive the WBU E-Bulletin as a printed braille edition, we can do so thanks to the wonderful people at All India Confederation of the Blind who make these editions possible. If you wish to receive braille versions of the E-Bulletin, please send to the WBU office your full name and mailing address, including country, email contact as well as number of copies and whether or not you want contracted or uncontracted Braille. If we receive at least fifty requests, we can then provide AICB an up-to-date list. The AICB had been producing the E-Bulletin in braille for several years now, and sending it out to members who had made this request in the past, but due to getting too many of these mailings returned as bad address, this operation ceased. Even if you have received the English braille service in the past, you must still let us know that you continue to be interested and provide us with your current mailing address and format requirements. Currently, this print braille edition is only available in English. If members from other language groups would like to offer this service to members we would of course be very grateful. Please provide us with your English braille requests by April 30th. Please send in your request to the WBU office at: info@wbuoffice.org. PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE First of all I would like to thank you all for the trust you showed me when you elected me President of WBU. I was touched and moved. Such an honour is a rare experienced and I feel incredibly humbled in front of the mission that now stands ahead of me. Meanwhile, leading WBU is no one-man show. I think I can say, on behalf of the entire team, that we all feel a great responsibility, and that we will all work hard in order to reach the goals that we have agreed upon. We have completed a fundraising seminar where we have discussed how we can secure more resources for our work. This will also benefit our member organisations, and it will ensure more resources for WBU. Furthermore we have conducted a successful workshop that laid the foundation for our work going forward. The conclusion from this workshop was that much of our engagement from the previous period will be continued, in addition to making room for new essential areas such as rehabilitation. The workshop was followed by our Officers Meeting where we were able to agree on the necessary statutes in order to get started. We are also close to ensuring that the right people are in the right places in terms of the different areas, although we do still lack a few names. WBU depends on strong communication with our members, and good cooperation. If everyone works to their full potential, then we can actually change the world. The realisation that more and more challenges are in need of global cooperation in order to be solved is becoming clearer to me every day. One example of this is silent cars; another is ensuring that blind and partially sighted children all over the world have access to education. If we look ahead we will see that in short time we will reach our goal of a WIPO Treaty. This will be an important step in our battle, however much work will still remain. I am on the move and am shortly leaving for Haiti where I will look at what our colleagues have achieved after the great earthquake. This is an exciting moment, and yet another example of how we all can need help, and that together we can make a difference. Arnt Holte, President WBU STRATEGIC PLAN 2013 TO 2016 OVERVIEW The 2012 WBU General Assembly was held in November where new table officers were elected to lead the Union and new resolutions were supported to shape the work for the next four years. In February, the new team met in London, UK (hosted by the RNIB, with our thanks) in order to create the plan for the next four years. The plan is now being developed based on that input and a comprehensive overview will be included in the next issue of the E-bulletin. WBU 2012 GENERAL ASSEMBLY Newly elected WBU Table Officers  President: Arnt Holte, Norway  1st Vice President: Frederic Schroeder, USA  2nd Vice President: Enrique Perez, Spain  Secretary General: Rina Prasarani, Indonesia  Treasurer: A.K. Mittal, India (second term in this position)  Immediate Past President: Maryanne Diamond, Australia Read their biographies on our website: http://www.worldblindunion.org/English/about-wbu/Pages/Executive-Bodies.aspx Passed Resolutions 12 Resolutions were passed at the WBU General Assembly, focusing on a variety of issues. The key points are listed below, and to read each resolution in full follow this link to the document on our website: http://www.worldblindunion.org/English/about-wbu/Pages/WBU-Resolutions.aspx 2012 resolutions – just the headlines 1.) Disaster Preparedness 2.) Encourage Employment 3.) Encourage training in Massage/Physiotherapy 4.) ISO on Usage of Braille 5.) The Right to an Independent Vote for people who are blind or partially sighted 6.) Establishment of a Fund to support Table Officers Elected from Developing Countries 7.) CRPD having implementation tools and training for members 8.) Actions to improve technology 9.) UN Global Compact 10.) Eye Donation Day 11.) Reporting on Adopted Resolutions 12.) Access to E-Books New Honourary Life Members The following people were granted lifetime membership status in the World Blind Union due to their life’s work of making life better for blind and partially sighted people all over the world: Lord Colin Low of England, John Wamono Gususwa of Uganda, Maria Gloria Peniza Lomba of Venezuela, William Rowland of South Africa, Mian Javaid Manzoor and Saad Noor of Pakistan, and Mr. Yoshihiko Sasagawa of Japan. We are very pleased that Mr. Sasagawa chose to make a donation to the WBU in honor of his Life member status. 2012 Louis Braille Metal Winner: Mr. Jawahar Lal Kaul, of India The Louis Braille medal is the most prestigious award accorded by the WBU with a maximum of 2 Medals awarded at any one General Assembly. It is not incumbent on the WBU to award the Louis Braille Medal each and every quadrennium but only when an outstanding candidate is presented. This award is granted to individuals who have made a substantial and outstanding contribution to people who are blind or partially sighted through international service or to the WBU over a long period of time. Before the WBU meets every four years, we accept applications from individuals, groups of individuals, or national members for a person to be considered to receive the Louis Braille Medal. So it was with great care and consideration that we awarded this 2012 Louis Braille Medal to Mr. Jawahar Lal Kaul. He stands out as a beacon of hope and promise for millions of blind and partially sighted persons in India and beyond. It was in 1969 that Kaul first met with a leading international leader, Dr. Isabelle Grant, Treasurer, International Federation of the Blind, when she visited Delhi during WCWB General Assembly. Kaul was then participating in a protest fast in support of employment for the blind in India. This brief meeting inspired young Kaul to work unstintingly for carving out a place of dignity for his blind counterparts. After establishing the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the first self-help organization of the blind in India, Mr. Kaul wanted passionately to provide a common platform for the blind outside the country too. In 1975, he attended his first major international gathering—the International Leadership Seminar held in Kuala Lumpur. Here, he met the then President, International Federation of the Blind (IFB), Dr. Fatima Shah and the two deliberated intensely on having IFB presence in the region. On his return, Mr. Kaul consulted Dr. Grant and, thus emerged the idea of establishing an East Asia Committee of IFB. He worked on the idea and persuaded a senior officer in the Government of India, Lal Advani, (himself blind and well-known in the region) to head the Committee. Thus, The Committee was inaugurated in New Delhi in September, 1976 by Dr. Fatima Shah. The Committee, at that time, consisted of blind representatives from countries in South Asia, South-East Asia and Australasia. Mr. Kaul took over as Executive Secretary of the Committee in 1977, a position he held with distinction till 1985. He helped Lal Advani convene the first Conference of the East Asia Committee in New Delhi in 1977, which was inaugurated by the then Prime Minister of India. Delegates from about 15 countries participated—the first such gathering of blind leaders in the region. Those were of course, difficult times. The self-help movement in the region was either non-existent or was, at best, in a fledgling state. Resources were scant. There was a parallel Asian Committee of the WCWB. For most of the time, as an economic measure, Mr. Kaul accommodated the office of the East Asia Committee at the NFB and then at All India Confederation of the Blind (AICB) during his Executive Secretaryship. An intensive campaign was launched to sensitize blind and partially sighted persons in the region to their rights and the crucial significance of a movement of their own. Country-specific leadership training seminars were organized and a bi-monthly journal, "The Braille International" was produced and circulated free of charge throughout the IFB member-countries and, thereafter, for some time, among WBU members also. The journal contained information and articles on various important international events and developments concerning the visually impaired. In 1985, the growing AICB activities impelled Mr. Kaul to give all his time for that organization. But here, too, Mr. Kaul did not overlook the international perspective. Under his guidance, AICB set up in 1985, the Women's Advisory Committee which was launched by Late Dr. Salma Maqbool who was then the Chair of the WBU Women's Forum. The Committee proved a precursor to many such committees in the region during the next few years. Also, AICB undertook a scheme of three-month Training Courses in the Management of Associations Of and For the Blind during late 80's and early 90's. Besides India, a number of blind leaders from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Uganda received training at these courses which proved immensely beneficial for them. Following the restructuring of Asia Blind Union, Mr. Kaul was unanimously elected its Secretary General at the Melbourne General Assembly in 2000. This assignment, too, was fraught with challenges. The ABU now included countries from the Middle-East following the disbanding of Middle-East Union as also members from Central Asia (erstwhile Soviet Republics). The former had understandable initial doubts about this new arrangement, while the countries in Central Asia were faced with extremely volatile political and economic conditions. But, Mr. Kaul rose to the occasion and soon dispelled all apprehensions and misgivings, taking everyone along with him as a cohesive and mutually trusting team. A large number of programmes concerning training/orientation of professionals, widening employment avenues, promoting technology-access, provision of basic Braille equipment, advocacy and lobbying and UNCRPD activities were organized. Special attention was paid to providing necessary support to members in Central Asia and on empowering women. Research studies were conducted on the status of youth and women in their respective organizations across the region and suitable strategy documents prepared for raising their profile. Mr. Kaul was re-elected unopposed as Secretary General, ABU, in the Assemblies held in 2004 and 2008. He relinquished charge of his own accord in 2012 after 12 years' distinguished service. Many and varied are Mr. Kaul's achievements to merit his selection for this prestigious Award:  He laid the Foundations of the self-help movement of the blind in the region by facilitating the establishment of the East Asia Committee of IFB;  The courses run at his organization—AICB—provided training free of charge to a large number of representatives from several developing countries in different facets of managing organizations of the blind, thus facilitating organizational development;  AICB under his guidance prepared a comprehensive Braille manual in English on organizational management which has relevance for other countries as well;  The Braille Press at AICB produced and circulated free of charge ABU newsletter "Progress" continuously from 1998 to 2011 and the WBU e-Bulletin from 2009 onward;  He stabilized the functioning of the restructured ABU;  He was presented the prestigious Marga Schulze Foundation (Germany) Award at the ICEVI Conference at Kuala Lumpur in 2006 for "Promotion of blind and partially-sighted girls and women in Asia and Africa";  He was unanimously elected Honorary Life Member, WBU at the General Assembly in 2008 for rendering "Long and outstanding international service through the WBU to people who are blind and partially sighted";  He was designated as the Chair of WBU's World Braille Council for the past quadrennium—a responsibility he discharged most conscientiously and efficiently channelling the collective wisdom and experience of members; Almost all WBU Presidents have visited AICB in India and have positively commended its activities under the guidance of Mr. Kaul. SOCIAL MEDIA UPDATE We now have over 550 people and organizations that follow us on Twitter. If you tweet, you can also follow at: @blindunion. We are also on Facebook too. We encourage members to let us know if you have a Twitter account so we can alert others and follow you. UPDATES FROM WORKING GROUPS Right to Read Campaign: WIPO Treaty Update - is the finish line in Morocco in June? By Dan Pescod For the last four years WBU has been working hard to bring about an international treaty that would improve access to copyrighted works for visually impaired persons and persons with print disabilities around the world. We are now, hopefully, approaching our goal. In November 2012, WBU took part in the WIPO Copyright Committee meeting (SCCR) which negotiated on the draft treaty text. This was yet another intensive, intense and interminable meeting at which we had to battle to ensure a treaty text that would be workable in practice. Before, during, and after that meeting, we carried out our usual frenetic round of meetings, lobbying, media work and worldwide coordination of efforts to keep the campaign on track. The landmark development in this campaign is that, on 18th December, governments at the specially convened WIPO Extraordinary General Assembly (EGA) agreed that they would negotiate a legally binding WIPO treaty for print disabled people, and would aim to finish the work in June 2013. The EGA made the key decision "to convene a Diplomatic Conference on limitations and exceptions for visually impaired persons/persons with print disabilities to be held between June 16 and 30, 2013, in Marrakech, Morocco.(A Diplomatic Conference is the highest level of negotiations in the UN system.) This Conference is mandated to negotiate and adopt a treaty on limitations and exceptions for visually impaired persons/persons with print disabilities." [Source: WIPO press release, December 18] The EGA also agreed that there would be a special WIPO SCCR session in Geneva February 18-22 to work further on the detail of the treaty text. The EGA further decided that there could be -if needed- more meetings to get the text ready before June. However, the aim is clearly to get the text almost finalized in February to increase the chances of success in the Diplomatic Conference in June. This is a great result from the EGA as far as WBU is concerned, and it is a landmark decision for WIPO too. Never before has WIPO agreed to have a Diplomatic Conference to conclude a treaty for users' access. It has always made treaties to strengthen the protection of intellectual property for publishers, authors or holders of patents etc. That is of course a main reason that the campaign for this treaty has been so hard-fought. The EGA decision also means we are now into the last six months of work (if all goes well) before the campaign for a treaty is completed. Nothing of course is straightforward in this campaign. The EU was pushing for the EGA decision to have a "kill point" after the February 2013 SCCR meeting. That provision would have meant that if it were deemed at the end of the February meeting that insufficient progress had been made with the text, WIPO member states could have pulled the plug on the whole process and avoided holding the Diplomatic Conference. The final EGA decision largely closed out that possibility. In the next couple of months WBU will have to step up its campaigning to ensure that the treaty text is really workable. It needs to be simple and clearly worded so that it can be easily understood. It must not heap administrative burdens on the "Authorized Entities” which hope to use the treaty to send accessible format books across national borders. The treaty text The WBU team at WIPO has been working very hard with all WIPO member states to ensure that the treaty is worded in such a way as to be effective in allowing blind, partially sighted and print disabled people to get access to a greater number and variety of books. There is still work to be done on the text. The treaty must be simple; it needs also to be written in such a way that it finds acceptance with publishers and governments. The latest report WIPO meetings held in late February are on our website main page: http://www.worldblindunion.org/English/Pages/default.aspx WBU Employment Resource Bank Project is Launched By Karen Wolffe The importance of work cannot be downplayed – it is the means by which most adults support themselves and their families. Work is how modern people contribute to the larger community – giving of their energies and talents for the greater good. It is through work that individuals develop and maintain confidence and self-esteem. Unfortunately, one of the greatest challenges people with visual impairments throughout the world face is that only a very small percentage of them will manage to secure employment in the competitive labour market. Project Aspiro is a new career planning and employment website designed specifically to address this problem. www.projectaspiro.com Project Aspiro was developed in partnership by the World Blind Union and the CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind) and was funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Unacceptably low rates of employment that visually impaired people throughout the world experience are well-documented (LaGrow & Davey, 2006; United Nations, 2012; Vision Australia, 2012; Wolffe & Spungin, 2002). Employment statistics in developed countries such as Australia, the United States, Canada, and others have remained fairly stable for many years – employment has hovered between 30 and 40%, depending on individuals’ level of education, age, amount of vision, and overall health. In developing countries, the rate of employment for adults with visual disabilities is even more abysmal – rarely being reported above 10%. However, these employment statistics only take into consideration people “in the labour market” – they don’t consider the many, many adults who’ve given up in despair and are no longer even attempting to find work. The United States Bureau of Labour Statistics has been reporting on the labour market participation and employment of people with disabilities since 2006 and it now estimated that nearly 80% of working-age adults with visual disabilities are no longer even attempting to find work. Some of those out-of-work people are unemployed by choice – they’ve chosen to retire after losing vision or they have chronic illnesses or other disabling conditions in addition to blindness that inhibit their ability to work; however, research in a number of countries, including the US and Canada, has indicated that approximately two-thirds of those who are unemployed would like to gain employment (Taylor, Krane, & Orkis, 2010; Statistics Canada, 2010). Project Aspiro is designed to help those individuals explore career options and secure jobs, if they would like to do so. The website is a comprehensive career planning and employment resource for individuals with visual disabilities of all ages and in any stage of their careers throughout the world. There are four main sections of the website:  The first section is targeted to individuals with visual disabilities. Information on the site is designed to help people plan and then implement their careers. We share techniques and strategies for living independently, describe how to gain skills through formal and experiential learning opportunities, provide career exploration and job seeking skills activities and resources, and describe job maintenance and career advancement approaches. We do this with FAQs, tip sheets, and checklists designed to make the content meaningful and easily accessible.  The second section is geared toward service providers: teachers, counsellors, employment specialists, or any other professionals working with individuals who are blind or have low vision. This section details how to help students and clients help themselves in exploration of their interests, abilities, values, and work personality; assessment of the labour market and information about available jobs and career paths, preparation for work, and describes the supports needed to facilitate successful placement into employment.  The third section is written with families and friends of individuals with visual disabilities in mind. Because we recognize that career development starts at birth and continues throughout people’s lives, this section describes the typical career development process and details how families and friends can support their children, relatives, or friends and acquaintances when they are ready to engage in work and successfully advance through their careers.  The final section is written for employers who are considering hiring applicants with visual disabilities or who have current workers losing vision. Information about appropriate job site accommodations are described for workers without vision and those with low vision. Concerns that employers have expressed related to blind or low vision individuals’ ability to work safely, travel to and from work and get around within the work environment, access printed and pictorial information, and meet productivity standards are addressed. Each section of the website includes FAQs, tip sheets, checklists, and links to programs, services, and organizations, as well as, annotated resource listings. In addition, there are a number of audio/video segments highlighting successfully employed individuals from around the world. This is meant to be a dynamic website and it is anticipated that more video footage and audio interviews with successfully employed individuals with visual disabilities will be posted over time. Please visit Project Aspiro often and share your feedback with the author (karenwolffe@gmail.com). Article references:  LaGrow, S. J., & Daye, P. (2005). Barriers to employment identified by blind and vision-impaired persons in New Zealand. Retrieved from http://www.msd.govt.nz/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resources/journals-and-magazines/social-policy-journal/spj26/26-barriers-to-employment-identified-by-blind-and-vision-impaired-persons-pages173-185.html#References9  Statistics Canada. (2010). The 2006 participation and activity limitation survey (PALS). Ontario: author.  Taylor, H., Krane, D., Orkis, K. (2010). The ADA, 20 years later: Kessler foundation and National Organization on Disability report. Retrieved from http://www.2010disabilitysurveys.org/  United Nations, (2012). Disability and employment fact sheet. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=255  Vision Australia. (2012), Employment Research Survey Report 2012. Melbourne: Vision Australia Research and Measures Team – International and Stakeholder Relations Department.  Wolffe, K.E. and S. Spungin (2002). A glance at worldwide employment of people with visual impairments. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 96, 245–254. TRANSLATING THE CRPD LEGAL COMMITMENTS INTO LOCAL OUTCOMES The entire world community of disabled persons, including those with sensory and physical disabilities, was filled with joy on December 13, 2006. This was the day on which a long-awaited international law was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly towards enabling the disabled community to realize their long pending dreams, and ambitions of life as legitimate members of the human family. This magic instrument is known as UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD or CRPD). This is a very powerful human rights instrument which clearly proclaims and champions basic human rights and fundamental freedoms of all persons with disabilities. Millions of disabled people, particularly the 285 million who are blind or partially sighted, have renewed their hopes for an inclusive and better society to live a life with dignity in accessible communities. For some time, my encounters with other blind and partially sighted persons who had a wide range of questions pertaining to the implementation of the CRPD were not satisfactory in providing them solid answers. I was helpless to answer their questions for a long time. Suddenly I got answers for all of their questions and queries when I looked at my presentations on “CRPD regional networks” and “CRPD tool kit”. I realized that WBU is quite knowledgeable about these queries having significantly contributed in the creation and negotiation process of CRPD, providing the perspectives of those who are blind or partially sighted. WBU has been striving to translate the legal commitments into measurable outcomes on the ground which will make significant difference in the lives of 285 million people who are blind or partially sighted across the globe. I was excited to share this truth with all the member organizations present at the WBU General Assembly in November. I had an opportunity of introducing two actions and tireless concern of the WBU to the delegates in order to reinforce their faith in implementing the CRPD. WBU has been striving to build the capacity of its member organizations by providing them with appropriate tools for ensuring effective implementation of provisions enshrined in the convention. Our CRPD toolkit provides the means for effective monitoring and active participation in the legal and policy reform process at the national level. The CRPD tool kit was created and launched by WBU for the benefit of its member organizations in order to understand analyses, internalize and read the perspective of the convention and its implications on persons who are blind and partially sighted. It is a combination of resources to enable member organizations to intensify their critical engagement with the stakeholders of strategic importance. It includes WBU analysis of CRPD articles and check list for CRPD articles from the perspective of blind and partially sighted persons. It provides an advocacy tool for effective monitoring at the local and national levels. It introduces the concept of CRPD champions and regional coordinators to ensure the grounding of rights of blind and partially sighted persons in real life situations. All the member organizations are strongly encouraged to use this resource in their struggle for equity and justice. It is available on the WBU website in our Resources section under toolkits: http://www.worldblindunion.org/English/resources/Pages/Toolkits.aspx The other important concept which WBU has been advocating among its member organizations is setting up and engaging in CRPD networks. Each member organization is encouraged to nominate a CRPD national champion in order to coordinate actions related to CRPD at the national level not only with the government departments but also its own affiliate and associate organizations as well as other organizations of blind and partially sighted and other disabled organizations as well. The CRPD national champion is accountable for building the capacity of organizations; actively participate in the consultation process organized by the GOVT and take up advocacy issues with regard to implementation of CRPD articles on the ground. Each WBU region is strongly encouraged to nominate a CRPD coordinator in order to coordinate CRPD related actions in close support of national champions. The regional coordinator is accountable for facilitating mutual sharing of information, good practices and new developments in the sector towards upgrading the knowledge base of its member organizations. Many of the member organizations have started the application of these two concepts in their work with blind and partially sighted persons. One such example is nomination of CRPD national champions by various organizations and CRPD coordinators by few regions. All India Confederation of the Blind (AICB) is one of the member organizations of WBU which has not only nominated a CRPD national champion, but has also encouraged its associates and affiliates to nominate more champions at the organizational and branch levels to carry forward the struggle for equity and justice. The WBU that is committed to translate the legal commitments into measurable outcomes on the ground for the 285 million blind and partially sighted across the globe. It is evident that WBU alone cannot accomplish this huge task but requires sincere, conscious and honest efforts from each one of its member organizations. It is not the request of the WBU but the demand of 285 million blind and partially sighted persons to make the CRPD a document that has real impact in their lives. DISABILITY UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD Penny Hartin Presented on Low Vision Rehabilitation at the IAPB – EMR Conference on Low Vision in Qatar WBU CEO, Penny Hartin, was invited to present at the Eastern Mediterranean Region of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness Conference on Low Vision held in Doha Qatar from December 10 – 12, 2012. The conference brought together 57 participants from 19 EMR countries in the Middle East, Gulf States, Northern Africa and western Asia, as well as local, regional and international experts. The Objectives of the conference were to:  Review current status of Low Vision Rehabilitation Services LVR) in the region  Identify opportunities and bottlenecks to setting up of LVR Services  Determine Key Actions to facilitate alignment and integration of LVR services within comprehensive eye care services in existing health systems  Develop a Regional Strategy to promote LVR Services Over the course of the three days, strategies were developed in the areas of: the development of human resources, service delivery, early intervention, health information systems, networking, research and advocacy. Penny Hartin contributed in particular to the discussions related to Advocacy. She gave a presentation on the UNCRPD and its relevance to eye care. She provided a background to the UNCRPD, discussing its relevance and importance and reviewed a number of articles of particular relevance to blind and partially sighted persons and to the development and provision of low vision services. She also emphasized the opportunities for input at the implementation and monitoring stage at the national level and strongly encouraged conference participants to work closely with WBU member organizations to collaborate on implementation and monitoring strategies. NVDA Development Project Update $55,000 was raised from WBU member organizations from around the world to make its open source software available free online for those who are visually impaired. NVDA’s program is an open source speech software prototype that has many of the features of JAWS. It was developed by two young blind men from Australia, James Teh and Mick Curran whose goal has been to provide the speech software to improve accessibility for blind and partially sighted persons worldwide. At the WBU General Assembly in Bangkok a special fundraiser was held by Senator Monthian Buntan during the closing Gala dinner to raise funds to support the NVDA team and allow them to continue to expand the NVDA project. In total approximately $55,000 US was raised from these organizations: The Thailand Association of the Blind, National Federation of the Blind (USA), Vision Australia, La Organizacion Nacional de Ciegos Espanoles (ONCE), Royal National Institiute for the Blind (UK), German Federation of the Blind and Partially Sighted (DBSV), Israel Association for Blind, The Christian Foundation for the Blind in Thailand, and Overbrook School for the Blind, all contributed generously in order to support the program. Here is a link to the NVDA website: http://www.nvda-project.org/ Beyond the Millennium Development Goals 2015 – Liberia’s position paper for inclusive approaches The article below is Liberia’s position paper on recommendations to be taken into consideration by the UN High Level Panel Committee during its meetings with Civil Society Organizations in Monrovia, Liberia, January 30th, 2013. The task of developing a political framework to promote accessibility for ordinary people, vulnerable groups and the elderly, extends also to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities, the youth and those living with HIV/AIDS. It Is our determination to influence policy makers to collectively agree on the adoption of an international agenda to address major global problems such as extreme poverty and hunger, the failure to guarantee the effective participation of all in the process of developing an inclusive framework that will ensure a human rights base approach, equality and non-discrimination. While we cannot deny the fact that the current millennium goals have improved many lives around the world, it is increasingly clear that little or no progress has been made positively to transform conductions of life of ordinary people, especially those living disabilities in developing countries where the economic and social situation is acutely devastating and life threatening. We are aware that there is a global consensus on the need for a stand-alone goal on equality and non-discrimination as well as several order provisions under each separate goal with commitment to ensure necessary imparts on people with disabilities and the consideration to include the collection of data and this aggregation of same for those with disabilities and the non-disabled. It may interest you to acknowledge that up to 15 per cent of the world population (an estimated one billion), are people with disabilities, and we are disproportionately found among those living below the absolute poverty line. We believe that persons with disabilities deserve the right to challenge discrimination and to be supported in the fight against poverty. It is our strongest conviction that the world sees the need to make our concern a key focus to the drive for a new sustainable development framework so as to enable a focus on the poorest of the poor, the least educated, the least empowered and the most marginalized persons with disabilities in particularly. Persons with disabilities face barriers to participation in society, such as in accessing development programs and funds, education, employment, health care, communication services. Individuals with disabilities and their families, of whom 80% live in developing countries, are over represented among those living in absolute poverty. Furthermore, they are particularly at risk to effects of climate change such as natural disasters and food insecurity. They are also more vulnerable in situations of conflicts. According to the UN system task team report on the 2015 agenda, the MDGS (Millennium Development Goals) have not reached the poorest and most marginalized people. The exclusion and invisibility of persons with disabilities are indicative of how the framework fails. This has been compounded by a lack of reliable statistics on persons with disabilities. They face discrimination on multiple levels yet remain absent in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the MDGS. As we congratulate you, Your Excellence Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the republic of Liberia, for your preferment as Co-chair of the UN High Level Panel Committee charged with the responsibility to review the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGS), we are pleased to advance the following recommendations for consideration in the post 2015 development agenda process: 1. That the current understanding and definition of poverty be revised so that its goes beyond income consumption and wealth 2. That the new development framework becomes inclusive of persons with disabilities and compliant with the convention on the rights and dignity of person with disabilities and that all goals be inclusive of person with disabilities and that there be specific indicators related to the inclusion of persons with disabilities within each of the goals ( refer to article 32 on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities), which aims to promote the right and full and effective participation of persons with disabilities by supporting the work of representative organizations of disabled people. 3. Mechanisms should be put in place to ensure the effective participation of organizations of persons with disabilities at every stage of the process and ensure revision of overseas development assistance to include disability related markers. Additionally, any new global partnerships must include persons with disabilities in their international cooperation efforts: 4. That the global framework must obligate governments to promote sustainable development policies that support inclusive housing and social services, safe and healthy living environment for all, particularly persons with disabilities as provided for in paragraph 135 of the Rio+20 outcome document. This is to advance the vision expressed by the UN task team which rests on the core universal values of human rights, equality and sustainability. Tibet in Blind People's Eyes Exhibit From 3rd Dec to 7th Dec, photographs taken by blind people were exhibited in "Art 8", a quadrangle block in Beijing. These photos were taken by visually impaired Tibetans and 2 visually impaired "nonvisual photography" trainers from One Plus One (Beijing) Disabled Persons' Cultural Development Centre. Many people including NGO staff, journalists, students, and artists came to the exhibition paid high interest and respect to it. During 12th to 20th Dec, with the support from the French Embassy, Handicap International and Tibetan Blind Association, trainers from One Plus One (Beijing) Disabled Persons' Cultural Development Centre went to Tibet and gave nonvisual photography training to nine visually impaired Tibetans. During the training, the trainees got to know how to use a camera and skills to take photos without eyesight; what we called "nonvisual photography". After the training, all of them had successfully taken a lot of photos, which was the goal of the training. With the help of their volunteers, they selected several pictures for the exhibition. Ciren Zhaxi is one of the trainees, one of the photographs taken by him he relied on his hearing. It was named "Pigeons in Potala Square". Deqing Yuzhen loves to touch, when touched a beautiful flower, she quickly took a photo. Killa uses photos to tell the visitors that although she couldn't see, she can take photos. Qiangba Jiacuo took a photograph of a piece of trash behind a beautiful post. He wanted everyone to love the environment no matter whether the trash can be seen or not. Sun He, the organizer from Handicap International, said: “The exhibition is very successful, trainees from Tibet uses photos to express what they want to say to the others. These photos will be exhibited later in other places". One Plus One (Beijing) Disabled Persons' Cultural Development Centre has given many rounds of trainings to students in blind schools, universities and from the society. It has also held several exhibitions with different partners. Many photos taken by visually impaired artists impressed the visitors a lot. Xie Yan, director of One Plus One said that he would like to give more trainings to more visually impaired people, and hope by this way, the society can understand the blind more. Struggle of a Sightless Visionary By Dr. Victor John Cordeiro, Advocacy Coordinator-World Blind Union Nandini envisions for an inclusive society with no discrimination, violence and abuse against women/girls particularly those with disabilities. She works with ActionAid, a development agency known for its direct engagement with the most marginalized sections of society, addressing the structural causes of exclusion in order to up root injustice and inequities. She has been blind since birth, the cause diagnosed as retinitis pigmentosa. Nandini belongs to a remote village of Karnataka in the southern part of India. Her parents admitted her to a school for the blind at the age of three. Within two years she returned to her grandmother for eye treatment. An ophthalmologist starts treating her in the nearby city. She gained some sight as a result of three years of rigorous treatment. However, tragedy struck when the ophthalmologist died just before one year of the completion of the treatment which is an added blow to her progress. She went to Bangalore with some hope and got admission in a regular government primary school. She did well both in curricular and extracurricular activities in school, but the Headmaster asked her to leave the school on the basis of her disability when she was in fourth class due to petty politics. Nandini approached education minister of Karnataka to fight against the discriminatory attitude of the school. This enabled her to continue education till seventh class. Nandini said with courage of conviction “I am an activist since birth and have been resisting discrimination and exclusion both in my personal and professional capacity even today”. She beat the attempt of the school administration to obstruct her writing the seventh class board examination with the help of scribe, which would have blocked her ability to enter high school. Unfortunately, she has to resist discrimination not only from the larger society but also from her own family simply because she is blind. Nandini met with people from the National Association for the Blind and other agencies of blind and partially sighted persons. Meeting fellow like-minded visually impaired Indians boosted her morale to combat injustice and exclusion in an organized and systematic manner. Although she was a first rank student in her studies up to master’s degree; her own college failed to recognize her excellent academic achievements in the recruitment process for a lecturer and refused Nandini even though she came first among 200 candidates. She then came into contact with the All India Confederation of the Blind (AICB) (a member of World Blind Union) who recruited her as regional coordinator for promoting empowerment of blind or partially sighted women and girls. She capitalized this opportunity to combat discrimination, injustice, abuse and violence against marginalized women and girls and proved her potential as an effective activist. Nandini’s honest and hardworking efforts result in her promotion to a national coordinator. Her strategic interventions and effective mobilization efforts resulted in systemic and policy changes with regard to education, livelihoods, and accessibility to election process for blind or partially sighted persons through the issue of executive orders. She facilitated a workshop for blind and partially sighted women on violence, abuse and harassment for one week in Tajikistan at the request of Asian Blind Union. Nandini presented papers on the relevant issues in the international forums organized by WBU. After three years of intensive work with AICB, she got a post in the department of defense, within the government. The indifferent and discriminatory attitudes that kept her jobless in the past compelled her to leave this job voluntarily to go work for ActionAid (an international advocacy organization, devoted to fighting for the rights of marginalized people). Presently Nandini is in charge of promoting rights of women including women and girls with disabilities. Nandini writes, composes and sings revolutionary songs in order to mobilize women and girls in general, and those with disabilities in particular, towards the struggle for equity and justice within Indian society. Nandini’s message is very clear and loud “Unless we learn to resist discrimination and exclusion as an individual with disability, there is no end to it”. Nandini is a true visionary whose struggle for identity, equal existence and a life with dignity is a real motivation and inspiration to all those who suffer discrimination particularly those women and girls who are blind or partially sighted. From the IDA Dec. Bulletin: Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review On 14 December, the UN General Assembly adopted the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR) with disability-specific language. The QCPR is a key guiding document for the work of the UN agencies that are active in the area of development; it sets the framework within which the strategic plans operate for the next 4 years (2013 onward). Operative paragraph 23 directs UN agencies to take the needs of persons with disabilities into account in all operational activities for development, including in the Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF). It also mandates development agencies to disability and development, and to strengthen coherence in this regard. Link to the related document: QCPR Report (A/67/442/Add.1) ANNOUNCEMENTS A Win-win Situation for NAPB and WBU We are grateful to the Norwegian Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted for their direct mail campaign sent out to donors in the fall which raised $100,000 (US amount) for the World Blind Union. This campaign also raised money for NABP. The direct mail campaign focused on an international issue of the need of blind children and the response was overwhelming. There are many generous people in Norway who want to help work that will have an international impact. We thank Lief Wen Jensen, Arnt Holte, and Gunnar Haugsveen, NAPB Executive Director for their commitment to this campaign. More such fund raising partnerships are currently being considered and we look forward to working with other member organizations with similar campaigns that benefit both the work of the WBU and our members. Sudden death of Inclusive Planet Founder, Rahul Cherian We were shocked and saddened to hear that Rahul Cherian Jacob, from WBU International member from India Inclusive Planet, had died February 7th, after a short illness. Rahul had been a central figure in WBU's campaign for a WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation) treaty to get better access to books. He had become a great friend to many of us, as well as highly valued colleague. We relied greatly on his wise counsel and encouragement. Rahul really cared about his work to help improve disabled people's rights, and was a campaigning force to be reckoned with. As a person, there was so much to like about Rahul! He was a happy, fun-loving, positive, generous, funny and intelligent man. WBU will do all that we can to make sure we do win the campaign Rahul was so central to; getting a treaty at the World Intellectual Property Organisation for print disabled people. We will double our efforts to succeed in that endeavour, and when we get there we will have done so in Rahul's honour. We send our heartfelt condolences to Rahul's wife Anjana and to all those who knew Rahul. John Wilson, WBU Lifetime Member, has passed away. For more than three decades John was at the helm of the Association for the Blind, which became Vision Australia Foundation in 1999 and was one of the four organisations that merged to form Vision Australia in 2004. John joined AFTB as company secretary in 1953 and retired as executive director in 1984. His concerted and considerable efforts during 32 years of leadership brought major transformation and innovation, modernising the organisation’s business practises and bringing in government funding to facilitate consistency and extension of service delivery. John was also a prominent Australian contributor to the international blindness movement and was made a life member of the World Council for the Welfare of the Blind, now the World Blind Union. John’s life is an inspiring example of the difference the efforts of one person can make for many others. More Sad News of a Passing Colleague We heard from Sweden that Erik Staaf has passed away. He was responsible for international relations for the Swedish Association of the Blind, and coordinated their support in developing countries. Erik also sat on the WBU Development Committee for several years. “He was a good friend of mine.” Arte Holte commented on his loss. RESOURCES Joint World Blind Union and the AMD Alliance International Campaign Brief The loss of eyesight is something that can take place at any time in one’s life. The occurrence of vision loss increases as we age, with senior citizens becoming more vision impaired due to developing a range of eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, or age-related macular degeneration. Knowing these eye diseases were increasing in the aging population, the WBU commissioned a report on the status of elderly persons and presented this to the WBU officers in 2011. We have this report on our website resources section (Aging and Visual Impairment Report) and you can link to it here: http://www.worldblindunion.org/English/resources/Pages/General-Documents.aspx . The action we took resulting from the findings in the report prompted us to work more closely with organizations providing services to the elderly who are experiencing visual impairment. WBU has chosen to work with the AMD Alliance in order to reach people being affected by this disease. Our joint campaign was launched at the WBU General Assembly in Bangkok last November and comprises a digital resource of information, good practice guidance and links to help in the planning of services. Resources include: guidance on demographics, involving older blind people in service planning, working in partnership with other organizations, raising awareness of the consequences of age-related sight loss, how to address social isolation amongst older blind people and planning low cost low vision services. These are all available in multiple formats (large print and high contrast) by linking to the website: http://amdalliance.org/wbu/ Resource Generation Working Group The RGWG held a fund development seminar in February 2013 that provided ideas for member organizations looking for new ways of raising funds through direct marketing. This seminar was aimed at organizations with mature fund raising methodology already in place. This first RGWG seminar will help to shape future seminars that would be offered in other WBU regions. Results of the seminar will be posted on our website on the committee’s page in March: http://www.worldblindunion.org/English/our-work/committee-and-working-group/Pages/default.aspx CRPD – New Link on UN Web Site The UN Convention on the Rights of persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has a section on the UN website that links to country reports that spell out how it is being implemented in the various countries that have signed on and ratified the convention. Members can search for their own country report by going to this link: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRPD/Pages/Sessions.aspx The World Braille Foundation Announces a New Scholarship In honour of the late Dr. Gerald Dirks, a scholarship has been created in his name to be provided annually to qualifying candidates from the African Union members. More information about eligibility for this scholarship can be found on our WBU website under our Resources - Scholarships section: http://www.worldblindunion.org/English/resources/Pages/Scholarships.aspx International Networking Site for Disabled Youth is launched International Network for Disabled Youth, known as INDYspace (www.indyspace.org), is an online network dedicated to connecting young disabled people aged 16-30 from around the world. Funded by Oxfam Australia through their Oxfam International Youth Partnerships (OIYP) programme, is the first of its kind in bringing young disabled people together on a global level. The founders of the website, Erin Gough from New Zealand and Zara Todd from the United Kingdom, who first met at an Oxfam international youth conference two years ago, embody the site mission of enabling young disabled people to work together across borders. For more information on INDYspace, visit www.indyspace.org, www.facebook.com/indyspace or email info@indypsace.org 2013 CONFERENCE NOTICES April 17th - the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities announced it will be holding discussions on women and girls with disabilities at its upcoming sessions in April. The discussion will take place 17 April from 12 – 6pm. The Committee welcomes written submissions from civil society, particularly from DPOs, on strengthening the protection of human rights of women and girls with disabilities. Submissions should not exceed 10 pages and should be sent in word format no later than 30 March to crpd@ohchr.org. For further details please visit the Committee’s website where information is available in English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic and Chinese. April 18 to 20 - American Foundation for the Blind’s 2013 Leadership Conference takes place in Chicago, Illinois, USA www.afb.org/AFBLC April 29 & 30 - Pacific Rim Int’l Conference on Disability & Diversity tales place in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA with the theme: Being in Community. To learn more: http://www.pacrim.hawaii.edu/ May 30 & 31 - NNDR Symposia will take place in Turku, Finland. Nordic Network on Disability Research (NNDR) and Finnish Association of Disability Research. For more information on the conference visit http://nndr2013.fi/ June 6 & 7 M-Enabling Summit in Washington DC, USA: http://www.m-enabling.com/ June 11 to 13 - The European Union Supported Employment Conference will take place in Dublin, Ireland. Theme: “Building an Inclusive Europe through Supported Employment” A call for papers and details to follow: http://www.eusedublin2013.com/ June 13 & 14, The Danish National Library for Persons with Print Disabilities is organizing an international conference “Future Publishing and Accessibility” in cooperation with The Ministry of Culture of Denmark and The DAISY Consortium. The conference will be held in Copenhagen. We are anticipating 400 attendees from different countries around the world. The conference will focus on who is to guarantee future accessibility for users with special needs. We encourage user organizations to use an online forum and ask questions which we will pass on to some of the keynotes. The online forum will be available from March. www.newpubcph.org July 1 to 6 - National Federation of the Blind’s National Convention will take place at the Rosen Centre Hotel, 9840 International Drive, Orlando, Florida 32819, Reservations: Call (800) 204-7234 website: https://nfb.org/national-convention July 4 to 12 - American Council of the Blind’s, 2013 Conference in Columbus, Ohio. Theme: ACB Discovering New Worlds: link to website http://www.acb.org/node/995 2014 Events March 31st to April 4th, 2014 -the next Low Vision Conference will be in Melbourne, Australia. They have already created a website for this event: http://www.vision2014.org/ NEWS FROM THE REGIONS AFRICA http://www.afut-uafa.org Congratulations to Jace Nair who is the new Regional President for Africa. The other elected officers for this region are:  Mr. Jace Nair, President & Regional Representative, South Africa  Ms. Odette Juimo, Vice President & Chair of AFUB Women’s Committee, Cameroon  Mr. Frederick Haga, Regional Representative, East Africa, Kenya  Mr. Yaw Ofori Debra, Regional Representative, West Africa, Ghana  Mr. Paul Tezanou, Regional Representative, Central Africa, Cameroon  Mr. Mohamed Bouh Salem, Regional Representative, North Africa, Mauritania Mr. Julius Kamya from Uganda has been appointed to the position of Executive Director of AFUB. He will be starting on March 1st, 2013. Julius has wide experience and considerable qualifications related to the management of organizations working in the field of disability rights and advocacy. We look forward to working with Julius to improve the status of blind and partially sighted people across the continent. The former president of the Association for the Promotion and Social Integration of Blind and Partially Sighted in Benin, Mr. Elie Ayilo passed away in November in his 55 year. He served as president of APISAAB for 17 years. Our thanks for his many years of service in his country. The past president of the Nigeria Association of the Blind, Mr. Stephen Ayagwa, has passed away. A youth team member, a blind law student, Ndubisi Azubike, also passed away. Our condolences to their families and all who worked with them to improve the life of blind people in Nigeria. ASIA http://www.abunion.org No report available ASIA-PACIFIC http://wbuap.org/index/ Ms Michiko Tabata is the new Region President for the Asia-Pacific Region. Congratulations Michiko. New legislative clause related to vocational rehabilitation in Mongolia for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) In June 2012, national programs supporting the employment of unemployed people in Mongolia were approved and started their implementation under the Law on Social Welfare of PWDs and Law on Welfare. The aforementioned programs contained a few provisions about the PWDs; however, Mongolian National Federation of the Blind (MNFB) made a proposal to develop a stand-alone program for supporting employment of PWD. Such proposal resulted in that the respective government agency established a working group with representatives of MNFB. So, the group completed its task and developed a program to support employment of PWDs, which became effective from 21 June 2012. The key goal of the program was to boost the employment of PWDs, receive project proposals aimed at increasing household income and providing financial support to projects equal to MNT 5- 50 billion, equal to US$3600- 36000. Development and implementation of the program was found to be an important event and milestone to increase the employment of PWDs. While acting in the working group, MNFB managed to reflect one clause related to PWDs, which was a clause on providing rehabilitation training for the PWDs for job preparedness. Such regulation has never existed in Mongolia before; therefore we consider that the new clause in the national program would be an important point for provision of necessary rehabilitation training to PWDs. EUROPE http://www.euroblind.org/ The Center for the Blind in Israel presented a Photo Exhibition showing nineteen portraits of distinctive blind people with outstanding achievements in visual arts, sport and the academic professions. The Mati Davidson Photo Exhibition: "Come from Within – Blind People without Borders" opened at the Gallery of the Tel Aviv Photographic Art Society at 12 Esther Hamalka on December 8, and ran to the 29th. The exhibition was dedicated to the memory of Arie Schmidt, a friend of the photographer, Mati Davidson. In the midst of a successful career as a college lecturer and Senior Computer Advisor at I.B.M. Israel, Arie lost his eyesight, but continued with his routine. In addition to his work, he dedicated himself to public activities in order to improve the quality of life of blind people in Israel. “During the last two years I have toured the country to find vigorous and active blind people like him”, said Mati. European Union’s Decision on Silent Cars Issue In a vote on 6 February, the European Parliament adopted an amendment requiring car manufacturers to equip their ‘silent’ cars with an Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS) which will ensure that these vehicles are heard by people with sight loss. Electric and hybrid, or so-called ‘silent’ cars are too quiet for blind people to detect them. The crash rate of silent vehicles is twice as high as that of cars with internal combustion engine in slow-speed manoeuvre conditions such as slowing, stopping, backing up and entering a parking space. All pedestrians are at risk but blind and partially sighted pedestrians are most at risk of experiencing collisions with quiet vehicles because they cannot see or hear them coming. This danger is expected to increase as sales of silent cars are set to grow. EBU President Wolfgang Angermann welcomed the decision taken by the European Parliament: “Blind and partially sighted people have a right to be out in the streets. Silent cars are dangerous and minimum noise levels to ensure our safety is paramount. I am happy to see that the European Parliament has listened to us. Now we want Member States to do the same and endorse this all important requirement.” The European Blind Union has been campaigning long and hard for the adoption of mandatory minimum noise requirements and will continue to do so. ONCE’s Support of Affordable Housing We at ONCE, and in partnership with the Spanish Third Sector Platform of which we are members together with the Disability movement, have been actively involved with the signing of an interesting agreement for launching a social housing plan offering properties at low rents to vulnerable groups of people. We have been trying successfully that the disability sector be included and those who have been evicted from their homes or cannot afford to have a house to live in. LATIN AMERICA http://ulacdigital.org/ Partnership between ULAC and ESVI-AL Project (Inclusive Post Secondary Virtual Education) Since February 11, 2013 ULAC was officially part of ESVI-AL Project. It is an initiative developed among ten universities (seven in Latin America and three in Europe) funded by the European Commission with the main objectives of: define methodology processes to design and implement virtual curricula in accessible virtual campus; move forward with the creation of a inclusive post secondary virtual education in Latin America; improve employability of people with disabilities in the region, and establish a cooperation network on accessibility in education and virtual society. ULAC, along with the World Disabled Peoples' International (DPI), the International Social Security Association (ISSA) and Virtual Education (VE), participates in this Project as collaborative partner. www.esvial.org ULAC Officers will Meet for the First time in Spain The Officers of ULAC will hold their first meeting of 2013 in Madrid, Spain, from May 22 – 24 in order to participate in the XV year anniversary celebration of FOAL. Their extensive agenda will cover important points of discussion, such as the strategic plan follow-up, call results for the production of ‘Latin America’ magazine, participation of ULAC important international events, and the achievements of different working groups already active, such as the Scientific-Technical Committee and the Constitution Committee. Launch of a new phase in “Latin America” magazine In this new term ULAC engages its editorial line in two complementary streams: one framed in the typhlological movement leading to organizational strengthening and the other one towards dissemination of knowledge and necessary instruments o materials required for the daily living of blind people in the region covering the fundamentals for their economic, social and political aspirations. This is why in the re-launch of the iconic ‘Latin America’ magazine they have sought to align its content, frequency, format and languages, issuing in this new phase of their organization new copies in Portuguese. The objective of this magazine is to continue being the vehicle that links the entire region and the world by communicating in each one of its articles the essence of the philosophy, principles and values of ULAC as an extension and seed of all its members. NORTH AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN No report available WBU OFFICERS Mr. Arnt Holte, President arnt.holte@blindeforbundet.no Dr. Frederic K. Schroeder, 1st Vice President fschroeder@sks.com Mr. Enrique Pérez, 2nd Vice President EPB@once.es Mrs. Rina Prasarani, Secretary General rinalamsyah@gmail.co Mr. A. K. Mittal, Treasurer akmittal@rediffmail.com Ms. Maryanne Diamond, Immediate Past President maryanne.diamond@visionaustralia.org REGIONAL PRESIDENTS AFRICA (AFUB) Mr. Jace Nair jace@sancb.org.za ASIA (ABU) Mr. Santosh Kumar Rungta santoshkumar.rungta@gmail.com ASIA PACIFIC (WBU-AP) Ms. Michiko Tabata tabacchi@par.odn.ne.jp EUROPE (EBU) Mr. Wolfgang Angerman w.angermann@dbsv.org LATIN AMERICA (ULAC) Mr. Volmir Raimondi presidencia@ulacdigital.org NORTH AMERICA/CARIBBEAN (WBU-NA/C) Mr. Charles Mossop charles.mossop@cnib.ca WBU STAFF Dr. Penny Hartin, Chief Executive Officer penny.hartin@wbuoffice.org Ms. Marianne McQuillan, Manager, Fund Development & Communications Marianne.mcquillan@wbuoffice.org Ms. Ianina Rodriguez, Administrative Assistant Ianina.rodriguez@wbuoffice.org Dr. Victor Cordeiro, Advocacy Coordinator adco.wbu@gmail.com The World Blind Union is registered in Canada as a charity in order to raise funds for our work. Donations can be made via the Donate Now button on the website. www.worldblindunion.org

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