Amanda Ncube, Sunday News Reporter
THE Braille Department of the Bulawayo Public Library held a fund-raising breakfast on Friday which was aimed at raising funds to provide access to information as part of empowerment of the visually impaired people in Zimbabwe.
The programme seeks to re-equip and upgrade the Braille section of the Bulawayo Public Library. In a speech read on her behalf by Bulawayo Polytechnic principal Mr Gilbert Mabasa, Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Sithembiso Nyoni said she was impressed that corporates have joined in the endeavour to assist the visually impaired to access information.
“I am reliably informed and encouraged that some corporates like Edgars, Intercape-Pathfinder and Lobels Biscuits have begun partnering with the Braille Department of the Bulawayo Public Library. Let me urge the Ministry if ICT (Information, Communication and Technology and Courier Services) to ensure that more computers are made available for the blind starting with the Braille Department of the Bulawayo Public Library. I also wish to call upon the private sector and ordinary Zimbabweans to actively participate in this initiative.”
Minister Nyoni said poverty in many communities was due to among other issues, lack of access to information and by empowering citizens it automatically means effectively contributing towards the goals and objectives of Zim-Asset.
“The Braille Department, through their goodwill ambassadors Sulumani Chimbetu and Clarence Garura are in a drive to launch the campaign for access to information for the visually impaired. I am reliably informed that visually impaired people and the blind can access and use ordinary computers and phones, as well as a whole host of other gadgets through the use of screen reading software, this indeed is a welcome development,” she said.
Minister Nyoni also urged people to work together and support the initiative, so that all Zimbabweans are accorded equal opportunities.
Speaking at the same event, Bulawayo Public Library deputy chief librarian Mr Ronald Ndhlukula said: “I would like to appeal to you to support us as the Braille Library in all your capacities, help us unlock doors that will open a new era for our Braille Library. Help us develop an ideal Braille Library with our services, materials and equipment that is relevant to the needs of the visually impaired, help us build more Braille libraries across Zimbabwe.”
Goodwill ambassador Mr Clarence Garura said access to information for the blind and visually impaired was a rights issue not a charitable one.