The Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology once again participated in an event aimed at improving the lives of the visually impaired people, the celebration of the international braille day. The event was held at the Swaziland National Library on the 7th of January 2015. Normally the day is celebrated on the 4th of January every year which is the birth date of the founder, Frenchman Louis Braille.

The celebration which was in the form of a press conference was organized by the Swaziland Association of the Visually Impaired Persons. The main concept behind the event was the presentation of new technological braille that was donated by the USA embassy and also to make people aware of what the organization is doing.

Braille is a method by which blind and visually impaired persons read and write. According to Bongani Makama, the chairperson of the Swaziland Association of the Visually Impaired persons, braille was introduced to Swaziland in 1959. The association prides itself in pupils who obtain higher marks despite the challenges they are facing. Mbasheni and Ecinisweni Primary schools are some of the schools that the association supports by giving special education to visually impaired pupils. There was a concern though about the shortage of teachers which saw members of the association volunteering to help.

Musa Makhanya, the association’s secretary thanked the Swaziland government which, through tertiary institutions, has introduced braille education thus making it easy for the visually impaired people to continue with their studies. “We thank everyone who has supported us up to this far and we urge all Swazis to support the initiative,” he said.

Makhanya highlighted that they feel included in the vision of 2022 of Swaziland being a first world country. “We are proud to announce that braille has become technological since the American embassy has given us computerized braille, which makes us a part of the king’s vision”, he continued. The Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications was also applauded for introducing a braille telephone directory. He further urged the Ministry of ICT to pass laws that do not clash with some of the equipment they use to ensure that they are always in use.

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