Access to Information Still a Challenge Among The Visually Impaired
The Malawi Union for The Blind says despite efforts in promoting rights of people with visual impairments, access to information is still a challenge among them calling for swift action by authorities to address this.
The organization’s Executive Director Ezekiel Kumwenda says this limit them to be independent and puts them behind development thereby calling on government to ensure that important documents such as education books and the constitution are made accessible to them in braille form.
He has made the remarks as the country joins the rest of the world in commemorating World Braille Day today.
Kumwenda says for instance, people with visual impairments fail to progress in education as they cannot fully access information.
He said: “If it is put in the constitution, it means education information will be made available and in an accessible format. This means learners with visual impairments will have text books in an accessible format and even economic information should be made in accessible format which will make them to be independent other than what is happening at the moment.”
He adds that: “for Braille to be produced it needs a lot of things that is why we are calling on government to make sure that the resources are made available and the things should be affordable. Some of the products are not locally made so we want government to completely exempt taxes on these devices.”
Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare Jean Sendeza is optimistic that once the president signs the Persons with Disability Bill which was passed in parliament in December 2023, most of the challenges persons with disabilities are facing will be history.
She said: “We have recently passed a Bill in parliament which will be assented to shortly by the president. This Bill has taken care the issues of information to each and every person with disabilities. It will take care of information and infrastructure issues so that no person with disabilities is left behind.”
This year, the day is being commemorated under the theme “Empowering Through Inclusion and Diversity.”