Africa-Press – Tanzania. ON MONDAY Tanzania will join other countries across the world to celebrate World Braille Day, which is marked each year on January 4. The aim is to raise public awareness on the importance of braille as a means of writing communication for visually impaired persons or persons with vision loss.
January 4 is the birth anniversary of Louis Braille, a 19th century French national and the inventor of this system of writing. This is the fourth year since it was established by the United Nations General Assembly in November 2018.
Braille is a tactile representation of alphabetic and numerical symbols using six dots to represent each letter and number, and even musical, mathematical and scientific symbols through which visually impaired persons or persons with vision loss read and understand and communicate with others to share information and know what is going on around them in the country and across the world.
In Tanzania, people with disabilities, including those with visual impairment or vision loss, are encouraged to participate in decision-making processes.
Various government and religious leaders and human rights activists and other stakeholders have been appealing on their behalf to be involved in various activities, including exercising their right to vote and be voted for so that they are not left behind or are not socially, economically, politically and culturally excluded.
There are indeed efforts at all levels to involve persons with disabilities and make them feel that they too have rights like any other citizen of Tanzania.
The government, religious organisations and human rights activists and other stakeholders in particular have done a lot to ensure people with disabilities are equally treated and are not discriminated against on the basis of their disabilities. There are ongoing campaigns to ensure persons with disabilities have access to basic social services and all facilities such as schools, hospitals, prayer houses and the workplace where such services are available are user-friendly.
A common phrase ‘disability is not inability’ is used in public awareness campaigns so that people understand that if they have a person with a disability in their family or community it doesn’t mean that such person is less intelligent or less human. Where they have been given equal opportunities persons with disabilities have performed wonders in many things.
It suffices to say that World Braille Day reminds us our responsibility to ensure as individual persons, groups of persons, organisations, institutions and as a nation in general we create equal opportunities for people with visual impairment or vision loss and make efforts to fight against all forms of inequality and exclusion.
It is through this, that we want to remind each other to ensure visually impaired persons or persons with vision loss exercise their right to education, freedom of expression and opinion and social inclusion as reflected in Article 2 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.